Jean-Eric Vergne may have scored Scuderia Toro Rosso’s first point of the 2013 season in Malaysia, but the French driver believes that he could have fared better during the race.
“It’s good to finish in the points, but it’s a shame that a mistake in the pits cost us so much, as I could have done something better.
“Overall, I feel rather frusttrated, but I’ll take the point gladly.”
Vergne claimed P10 following Esteban Gutierrez’s late pit stop, and the Toro Rosso managed to stave off pressure from Valtteri Bottas in the final stages of the race. However, Vergne is looking to move on from the race and focus on the Chinese Grand Prix in three weeks’ time.
“We now have a short break before we go racing again and we must use that time to take a close look at how we performed and where we can do better, because there is certainly a lot of room for improvement.”
Vergne’s qualifying form has been questionable, failing to reach Q2 in Malaysia whilst his teammate Daniel Ricciardo managed to qualify an impressive 13th. However, Vergne got the better of his teammate in the race, and this was the one positive the Frenchman took out of the weekend.
“Once we got over our problems I had a good race pace and managed to make up a lot of places.”
Toro Rosso will be pleased with how they have started the season, especially given how McLaren and Williams have struggled. Vergne’s belief that the team can improve is proof that the Faenza-based team have the potential to better their haul of 26 points from 2012, and perhaps challenge their midfield rivals more intensely this season.
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.