FIA Formula One World Championship – Round 01: Australian Grand Prix – September 17, 2017

Tough start to the season for Toro Rosso-Honda but keeping a positive frame of mind for the next race

After an encouraging start to the race weekend, Toro Rosso-Honda suffered a frustrating opening to the 2018 season, as only one car finished the Australian Grand Prix. Brendon Hartley started from 16th on the grid, but a big lock-up at a tightly-packed first corner led to a flat spotted tyre that needed changing at the end of the opening lap and left him out of position. From there he was able to show competitive race pace but was unable to catch the cars in front and ended up having to slow to allow the leaders to pass in the closing stages, limiting his end result to 15th.

Brendon Hartley

Brendon Hartley

Pierre Gasly’s start from 20th was strong as he immediately made progress through the first three corners and was running in 16th place in the first part of the race. However, an issue related to the MGU-H forced the team to bring the car back into the pits and he had to retire. The problem will be investigated back at Sakura over the coming weeks, ahead of the second round of the season in Bahrain.

Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly

TEAM VIEWPOINTS

MANAGEMENT – TOYOHARU TANABE – TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, HONDA F1
It is disappointing that Pierre Gasly had to retire on lap 15 with an MGU-H problem. We now have to investigate the precise cause and then we have a few days of hard work to ensure we do not have a repeat of the problem at the next race.

As for Brendon, after his early pit stop, because of a flat spotted tyre, he raced consistently, but with the difficulty of overtaking here he was unable to move up the order. It was a tough start to the season, however we have to move on from this and keep a positive frame of mind as we immediately start preparing for the second round of the championship.

BRENDON HARTLEY #HAR28
It wasn’t a great race for me today, I locked the brakes into Turn 1 at the start and flat-spotted the tyres, so I had no choice but to pit because it was probably the biggest flat spot I’ve ever had.

Then on the second stint I had a puncture, so it was game over from that point onwards and I think I had a little bit of damage on the rear from that, so I was driving around by myself all day. It was always going to be tough to get into the points today.

PIERRE GASLY #GAS10
It wasn’t a great start to the season for me today. After Turn 12 the engine just switched off, it came back on again but I was really slow and I couldn’t upshift.

Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly

I tried to return to the pits and then I was told to stop. It’s a shame, especially since we didn’t have anything go wrong in testing. I think everyone in the team is disappointed to have an issue at the first race but we need to look at the positives and learn from the negatives to come back stronger in Bahrain.