It was a slow start to the Korean GP weekend for Toro Rosso who joined Caterham, Marussia and HRT at the bottom of the timesheets...
Jean-Eric Vergne: "Today was a sort of anniversary for me, as it was in Korea that I started driving the Friday morning sessions for Toro Rosso and today, that went much better than a year ago, when I only completed 5 laps in very heavy rain. I can't say I thought about it much, as there was plenty of work to do today. It's a nice track and I felt quite comfortable here. During the day, we worked hard on finding the right balance of the car, between oversteer and understeer and I believe we made some progress over the course of the three hours. But there is more to come, so we must work hard overnight to see how we can move forward for the rest of the weekend."
Daniel Ricciardo: "We made progress from the morning to the afternoon session and when I started FP2 on the Soft tyre I felt the balance of the car had improved. However, on the Supersoft, I encountered traffic on my first two laps and by the time I had a clear run on the third one, the tyres were no longer at their best. I did the long run on the option tyre and even if the pace was not what we wanted, it was not too far off, so all things considered the most positive factor is that we have an idea how to move forward for tomorrow and improve in time for qualifying."
Heikki Kovalainen: "FP1 was a good session for me. The car felt well balanced right from the start and it kept improving throughout. The track was obviously very slippery to begin with but the grip levels improved pretty quickly and the small changes we made for each run were working well. In FP2 I went off track in my first run and that dislodged a couple of bolts in the cockpit that meant we had to make a temporary fix to the seat so we could get through the program. Until that point the balance didn't feel quite as good as it had in the morning but once we went out on the supersofts the balance was back to where I'd like. We also improved the braking throughout the session so overall this has been a good day."
Vitaly Petrov: "FP2 didn't start as we'd have liked as I could almost immediately feel like we had a right rear puncture. We cut run one short and when I got back in the garage we found we did have a puncture so we changed the session plan to avoid using up another set of the soft tyres. On my first run on the supersofts the balance wasn't quite there so we made a couple of mechanical changes and they definitely improved the handling on the long run. The deg level on the supersofts is pretty high and with the need to look after the tyres we obviously had to change the program and my times would have definitely come down with more time on track and with the chance to run more laps on both compounds. Despite that both Heikki and Giedo have put in a good number of laps on the soft tyres so we have a lot of data to work through, enough to put us in a decent position for tomorrow."
Timo Glock: "Not an easy first day for us in Korea. I think we had reasonable pace in FP1 but the car behaviour was already a bit difficult this morning. In FP2 we weren't really able to improve. The rest of the cars in the field made a step forward I think and unfortunately we did not, so we need to find out why we could not get rid of the strange car behaviour that we have experienced here so far. We need to have a close look into the data and see what we can find there because this is limiting the pace of our car at the moment. Finding the problem overnight won't be an easy job, but the car has to be better for tomorrow so that is the challenge for us."
Charles Pic: "In Free Practice 1 this morning I felt that my first experience of this track was quite positive. We did some good work with the new floor to compare the data with Suzuka while I started to learn the circuit and get up to speed. This afternoon I was less comfortable with the steering. As we were unlikely to improve unless we changed something, and in fact the car was very difficult to drive, we decided to switch the steering rack, although this would mean losing some track time. The change was positive but the car was still not as we would like, so we have to work to understand why."
Narain Karthikeyan: "As I didn't run in the first session we had to make the most of the second one to adapt to the circuit. There are very technical areas such as turn 11 and the second sector, so we have to run even more to get to know it better. Tomorrow we will try out a different set-up and I hope that in the third free practice session we'll be able to prepare better to give it our all in qualifying."
Pedro de la Rosa: "Today was a classic Friday practice session. We focused on testing everything we had programmed and getting to know the circuit because I'd never raced here. It's very technical and you need to know it well. That was the target in the morning and we also gradually improved the set-up of the car. In the second session we mounted the new wing and tested both tyre options and now we must all the data we gathered to optimize the set-up for tomorrow's qualifying."
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