Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, Suzuka, 2011

Toro Rosso: Qualifying gamble fails to pay off

2011 Japanese GP team review

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Having looked quick on Friday the Toro Rosso drivers paid the price of not doing second runs in Q2, dropping out of the top ten.

Technical director Giorgio Ascanelli said: “We looked good in Friday’s FP1, but then we had to back-pedal on performance as we had concerns over reliability with some of the new elements we were running here.

“But today, we did not get it right and it was not a good performance, neither in how we engineered the session, nor in our capacity to produce a good lap time. With hindsight, possibly we should have given Sebastien [Buemi] another set of tyres and sent him out again at the end of Q2.”

It failed to pay off as Jaime Alguersuari could do not better than 15th and his team mate posted the race’s only retirement.

Sebastien Buemi Jaime Alguersuari
Qualifying position 15 16
Qualifying time comparison (Q2) 1’33.227 (-0.2) 1’33.427
Race position 15
Laps 11/53 53/53
Pit stops 1 2

Toro Rosso drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53
Sebastien Buemi 108.784 103.356 102.87 102.923 102.604 102.107 102.365 102.516 102.827 103.534 105.692
Jaime Alguersuari 112.985 105.448 105.282 103.398 103.809 103.233 103.892 103.801 104.371 102.57 102.7 102.613 103.09 103.035 104.003 104.87 105.921 118.428 99.679 100.422 101.041 102.444 99.85 124.33 126.503 105.207 148.085 102.599 102.508 99.934 100.953 100.877 101.32 100.999 101.065 103.264 117.423 99.245 99.05 97.577 97.411 97.464 97.676 97.949 98.324 98.917 99.491 99.847 100.076 100.974 100.609 101.054 102.434

Sebastien Buemi

Start tyre Soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 21.849s

Buemi started 15th but said there was much more performance in the car: “I made a mistake on the exit of turn nine, hitting the kerb a bit too hard which sent me off into the grass, costing me around half a second.

“I am disappointed about that because I?ve ended up behind the Williams, when we could easily have been ahead of them.”

More disappointment was to follow in the race. Having moved up four places at the start his race was ruined when he was released from the pits with his right-front wheel inadequately secured:

“I came out of the pits and already at the first corner, I felt some vibration and I saw that the right front wheel was beginning to move. It had not been properly fitted at the pit stop, I?m not sure why and then it came off at turn four.

“There was no way I could drive back to the pits, so my race was over.”

Sebastien Buemi 2011 form guide

Jaime Alguersuari

Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, Suzuka, 2011
Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, Suzuka, 2011
Start tyre Medium
Pit stop 1 Soft 21.792s
Pit stop 2 Soft 22.584s

Alguersuari played his usual long game on Saturday: “We could have had a much better qualifying in performance terms, but we had concentrated on the race in terms of our set-up and aero balance.

“Therefore, even if the grid position is not so good, I am quite happy because I feel that tomorrow I will have a car strong enough to score some points.”

These tactics have often served Algueruari well this year but it didn’t work out for him in Japan. Starting on medium tyres, he lost three places at the start and was then passed by Nico Rosberg, leaving him in 20th place.

His attempts to gain places were thwarted as he found himself repeatedly hitting the rev limiter. Still he was bemused at how another driver made better progress on a similar strategy: “I had more or less the same strategy as Perez, however he seemed to be one second a lap faster than me.”

He was passed by Pastor Maldonado on the final lap, finishing 15th.

Jaime Alguersuari 2011 form guide

2011 Japanese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Toro Rosso: Qualifying gamble fails to pay off”

  1. “Starting on medium places” –> tyres.

    Not wanting to appear a nitpick, I would have liked to add some other interesting comment besides the spotted typo, but I couldn’t think of anything interesting to report of Toro Rosso or its drivers this weekend, other than the standard speculation about who will drive for STR next year.

    1. Got it, thanks.

  2. A bit ironic that a loose tyre would force Buemi’s retirement when they were nervous some of the new parts might not be as reliable as they would like!

    Bit of a disappointment really. Would like to see Alguersuari repeat the performance he gave in Monza.

    1. It really is, isn’t it! And the other one is that Alguersuari made up one place from his grid position, that being where his team mate dropped out!

      1. @BasCB b That doesn’t count though, really!

  3. Their pace looked good but it’s useless if strategy fails…

  4. I was saddened to see them not fighting for Q3, and also when Buemi retired. It’s sad to see drivers retire by no fault of their own, especially when their car is on pace.

  5. If Alguersuari was using a race setup all weekend, then why didn’t he choose a “longer” 7th gear to facilitate overtaking?

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