Toro Rosso shocked by "huge step forward" in Bahrain

Toro Rosso didn't expect the "huge step forward" delivered by the updates it brought to the Bahrain Grand Prix, according to driver Brendon Hartley.

Toro Rosso shocked by "huge step forward" in Bahrain
Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso STR13 Honda
Brendon Hartley, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13
Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13 Honda
Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13 Honda
Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13
Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso STR13 Honda
Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, in the garage as Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso STR13 Honda, is returned by engineers
Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13

Hartley and teammate Pierre Gasly were eliminated in Q1 at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, in which the team would score no points – but both drivers then fared much better in Bahrain qualifying.

The Kiwi came up just a tenth short of advancing to the final qualifying segment, while Gasly put the Honda-powered STR13 a shock fifth on the grid.

Hartley said a new aero package was responsible for the performance step, and that the gains actually caught Toro Rosso by surprise.

"The fact we've brought so much performance is really, really encouraging," Hartley said.

"I think the estimate from Toro Rosso of the performance from the upgrade was quite small - and it ended up being a lot larger than they estimated, which is also fantastic. It's normally the other way.

"I had the feeling this was going to be a stronger track for us anyway, compared to Melbourne. But I wasn't expecting the performance increase from the upgrade that I had on the car today.

"I don't think anyone in the team expected us to take such a leap forward, to be one of the leading cars of the midfield. Obviously it's a tight battle still but it's an incredible effort.

"In Melbourne we were not there. Okay, yeah, I qualified 16th, but that was more or less where we were, we saw the pace in the race. That was where we were.

"We really made a huge step forward."

How they line up for the Bahrain GP...

The update, according to Hartley, was a new floor as well as "parts on the brake drums".

While Gasly had the new package throughout Friday, the Kiwi tried it for the first time in Saturday practice, and immediately felt its impact.

"Really big [difference], actually. Straight away this morning. I think my first lap I already commented how much better the car felt, so that was really encouraging from the first lap of this morning."

Gasly said Toro Rosso "expected less than a tenth" from the new aero package, conceding that "maybe it looks like it's working really well, so maybe we need to analyse a bit more deeply the impact".

However, he felt the biggest difference from the Australian GP had to do with set-up.

"The main thing is on the set-up," he said. "We have changed quite a lot our philosophy. Melbourne is really special, so bumpy, and you need to change the set-up massively for that track.

"Here we came back a bit closer to what we had for Barcelona, found some good or interesting directions for the set-up, and just felt super comfortable with the car from FP1."

He added that his Q3 effort was the best lap of his short F1 career thus far.

"I didn't know we'd get through to Q3 but it worked out and after I got through I just managed my best lap in Formula 1 in my first Q3.

"Just great timing! I was really happy about it."

Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov, Scott Mitchell

shares
comments
F1 overtaking talks fail to agree on 2019 changes
Previous article

F1 overtaking talks fail to agree on 2019 changes

Next article

Alonso feared McLaren would struggle in Bahrain

Alonso feared McLaren would struggle in Bahrain
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in F1 2021 battle Prime

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin Prime

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon in Texas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement Prime

Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man Anthony Peacock explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it).

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021