Toro Rosso may have bucked the trend by delaying its first major upgrade package until this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, but the move appears to now be paying dividends.
The majority of the F1 field introduced its updates at the Spanish Grand Prix at the beginning of May, but Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen confirmed at the time that the team was waiting until Austria to apply some new parts.
During practice at the Red Bull Ring on Friday, Verstappen finished eighth in both FP1 and FP2, whilst teammate Carlos Sainz Jr’s pace was good enough for P11 in both sessions.
“A pretty good first day here in Austria,” chief race engineer Phil Charles said. “Both drivers settled in well and we were able to test some new parts on both cars, which worked positively.
“We also set the two cars up slightly differently today and there’s some interesting information for us to go through tonight.
“Probably the biggest thing for us to go away and work on now has to do with the amount of graining when on the option tire. We seem to be a lot happier on primes, so we need to work on the set-up and make sure we find a way to work around this graining.
“But overall we can be satisfied with our Friday, we ticked all the boxes on the programme.”
Verstappen was pleased to finally get his hands on the new updates for the car, and gave his approval after practice had finished on Friday.
“I think the day started off well,” Verstappen said. “We had some new updates, so we used the first practice to test them and I was quite happy with the session. It was important to complete lots of laps in the morning and we then made the right choice for FP2.
“The lap times were not too bad on both the soft and super-soft tires. It’s a shame that I got held up in the last sector on options, if not I could’ve ended higher up, so I’m happy with today. I also like this track and driving here in an F1 car is even better!”