JEAN-ERIC VERGNE (25): “…. It is a really tough race for the car and for the drivers…”
DANIIL KVYAT (26): “Hungaroring is on the list of my favourite tracks with its flowing nature and fast chicanes… ”
… and Franz Tost’s Half-Term Report…
The Hungaroring. The final race before the summer break is definitely no holiday for cars or drivers, as it is very demanding on both, with the twisty nature meaning that there is no time to pause for breath for the men at the wheel. As for the cars, the new power units will be tested here, as the nature of the track means that good driveability will be one of the keys to a quick lap, with all the low speed corners. The extremely high temperatures – 50 degrees track temperature is quite normal here – that can be afeature of this race will mean that tyre management, with Pirelli bringing its medium and soft compounds, will also be of paramount importance. Over many years of running V8 engines, the task of putting the torque through the tyres onto the track had been well managed, but this year new parameters will come into play. Downforce levels will be similar to Monaco. After this race, the Toro Rosso engineers will have a good idea as to how the STR9 performs on the hottest tracks, which will be useful for other races later in the season.
This is an important race as it comes just before the summer break, so if you do well here, it means you can enjoy the holiday more. It is a really tough race for the car and for the drivers. The circuit is located in a bowl which seems to trap the heat and the lap has no straights, so there is no time to rest at all over a lap. It can be frustrating to race here though, like in Monaco, as you can find yourself behind a slower car and not be able to get close enough to pass. To overtake, you need to be really close in the last corner to pass down the pit straight and in order to manage that, you must be right on the tail of the slower car for the whole lap, which is quite tricky, as there are a few high speed corners. You are always turning, braking, accelerating. Not an easy race and the last two years it has not been a good track for Toro Rosso, so I really want this to change and we will be doing all we can to have a good race. I like the city, which I have visited many times from my days racing in the World Series
Hungaroring is on the list of my favourite tracks with its flowing nature and fast chicanes and corners, which you need to attack a lot. That’s what I really love about this track. There’s no time to rest there but I am really looking forward to it. You can get stuck behind slower cars, which is frustrating and that’s why it is really important to get as good a grid position as possible here and start in front of your rivals. It can be very hot and from a physical point of view, Budapest can be even tougher than Malaysia because you don’t get time to rest as there are no long straights. It makes for a demanding and challenging weekend. I also like the city of Budapest, quite a lot of Russians come to this race, so I am looking forward to seeing a lot of Russian flags in the grandstands: not on the scale of Sochi of course, but a nice feeling all the same.
ON THE POSITIVE SIDE – The pure speed of the STR9 is at quite a high level and in some races, our performance was really good. If we look back to the start, we immediately scored points with both cars inMelbourne and we were in the top ten again in Malaysia and China. Later in the first half we had a points finish in Canada and much more recently, we got both cars into the top ten at the British Grand Prix.
ON THE NEGATIVE SIDE – We are not where we should be in terms of reliability as we had eight non-finishes out of the first eighteen car starts, or nine races. That is not good enough and it is something we must work on. In mitigation, some of this lack of reliability stems from the fact that serious pre-season problems with the power unit meant we were unable to complete many miles in winter testing. Effectively, we have encountered problems in races that normally would have been resolved before then. In addition, the team has not been perfect, making mistakes that led to faults like suspension failure. The solution is straightforward, we simply need to be more disciplined in order to avoid making further mistakes in the second half of the year. We need to sort out our reliability issues as soon as possible, so that we can finish in the points in the remaining races.
CAR DEVELOPMENT – We will come up with some further developments, including a new aero package in Singapore, with more to come in the last part of the season. In addition, this is of course the time of year when we are increasing our efforts on next year’s car.
JEAN-ERIC VERGNE – He has suffered a lot with reliability issues, but when his car was running fine, he delivered good performances. Thanks to his experience he makes an important contribution to the team’s technical development and I’m convinced that there is still more to come from him.
DANIIL KVYAT – He is doing a very good job, taking into consideration how little mileage he was able to do before the season, he is driving verywell, showing that he has natural speed. Equally importantly, he has had no accidents, nor has he made any mistakes. He is doing a fantastic job.
TEAM – It has to improve, even if we are on the right road. But as I said before, on the reliability front, we have too many deficiencies. We are working hard on this area and I hope we will already see the results of our efforts during the course of this year.
FACTORY – Back in Faenza, we have started work on the second part of our expansion plan, with the construction of Building STR4, making good progress with the programme running on time.
There are many fans all over the world who seem to like the racing in its new format, with many positive comments. I believe Formula One is now going in the right direction, but as a whole there should be a bigger push to inform the public, so that the people who watch the races, either at the track or on TV, can have a better understanding of the new, exciting and futuristic technology that has come to Formula One.