Abu Dhabi GP: Race team notes - Toro Rosso


Brendon Hartley: "Unfortunately, my race was kind of over on the first lap. I didn't have anywhere to go with the crash into Turn 8 and I had to go off track to avoid the cars in front. I ran into some debris and damaged the front wing, so I had to stop on the first lap and then did a whole race on one set of tyres with the old spec front wing, which was always going to be an uphill battle. I managed the tyres well, but after the issue on lap one, P12 was pretty much the maximum we could manage. I've finished the year a lot stronger than I started it as the past few races have been great, however today didn't work out as planned. I'm happy with my progression throughout the season and I feel like I've come out of this year a stronger individual and racing driver."

Pierre Gasly: "It has been a difficult weekend for us between qualifying and the race. A few laps to the end we had an issue where smoke started to come out of the car, I don't know exactly what happened, but until that point it was a really fun race and I was enjoying it. I started 17th and managed to move up the field to P10 and fight with Romain who finished P9, but unfortunately we ended the season the same way we started it, with a DNF. It was a bit emotional today because it was my last race with Toro Rosso. I've had a great season with them and Honda and I really wanted to finish well. Overall, it was a positive season from my side, I really enjoyed working with Toro Rosso and I will remember the good weekends we had together. I'm excited to start a new chapter with Red Bull Racing next year but, still, I will miss the guys here: they gave a lot to me and they're great people who have a lot of passion for what they do…it was a big pleasure to work with them!"

Franz Tost (Team Principal): "Abu Dhabi was not the best weekend for Toro Rosso. Pierre had a very good start, he moved himself into 13th position and he improved throughout the race, showing good pace which could have brought him to finish in 10th position. Unfortunately, a few laps before the end he had to retire due to an issue we need to investigate further. This was Pierre's last race with us, he showed fantastic cooperation during the year and he improved a lot, showing he deserves his place in Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. I want to thank him for his great performance and I wish him all the best. As for Brendon, he started the race on the Ultrasofts as we decided to put him on an alternate strategy to Pierre. Unfortunately, he was caught in the middle of the first lap accident in Turn 8, so we had to call him in to change his front wing much earlier than planned. Then, he started to struggle with his rear tyres because of overheating and he ended up finishing in 12th position, out of the points. Of course it wasn't easy to come here from LMP1, it's always a challenge to get familiar with everything in Formula 1 and especially tyre management is a big task to cope with. He has been unlucky sometimes, but he has improved in the course of the season. It would have been great to finish the season in the points, also to reward the Team and Honda for the good job we've done together. Thanks to everyone at the track and at the factories in Italy, Japan and in the UK. We'll work hard to come back next year in the best possible way."

Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director): "A very disappointing end to the season. Pierre had to retire, when running in the top ten, because of an oil leak, the cause of which we are currently investigating. Brendon fought hard but could not get into the points, after having to pit for a new nose following an incident on the opening lap. It has been a tough season, but we have learned a lot in our first year of working with Toro Rosso. We feel that over the course of the year, we have made a step forward in terms of both performance and reliability. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement, if we want to catch the frontrunners. We will be pushing hard over the winter, to have a good 2019 season, working with two teams. I wish to thank everyone at Honda and Toro Rosso, at the track, and back in the factories and of course the drivers for all their efforts this year. Thanks also to our fans: we hope to give them something more to cheer about next year."

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Published: 25/11/2018
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