He didn’t go any further than Q1 and now will turn his attention to his race strategy
Abu Dhabi, November 26th 2016.- Today’s Qualifying wasn’t the one Carlos deserved to say good-bye to the 2016 Formula 1 season. With only 35 laps under his belt this weekend, not a single one in similar conditions to the ones he encountered in this afternoon’ session, the Spaniard of Scuderia Toro Rosso had to condense all the pending work in the 18-minute opening phase. Compromised by the issues the team has experienced since Friday, Carlos finished 21st, the worst result he has had in his Formula 1 career
The strategy for Qualifying was the only one available for the day: to start running before anybody else and use as many tyre-sets as possible. Carlos used three units of the ultrasoft. For a brief moment he made it to the Q2 zone, but then he progressively fell until seeing the chequered flag in 21st place.
The set-up of his STR11 wasn’t the best available because of the lack of mileage experienced both yesterday and this morning in Free Practice 3. It was related to an issue on Daniil Kvyat’s car, who had to rear punctures as some part of the car may have touched the wheel. Before that glitch reappeared, Toro Rosso chose to stay in pits until the safety levels of both single-seaters were guaranteed.
The Spaniard couldn’t hide his disappointment as he got out of his car, although today’s result could have been expected.
“Very difficult. We have had problems all weekend long and we couldn’t do as many laps as we would have hoped for before Qualifying. This is what happens when you’re unprepared in Q1, you lose valuable track-time and it all goes wrong. The weekend has been a disaster up until now. I hope it gets better tomorrow, but so far this has been the worse weekend of the season”.
For tomorrow's race, Carlos doesn't expect any radical changes despite his will to give his everything. "It's not like we have great rhythm. But we'll try to have fun and do our own race. If the car is up for a P16, then we'll go for that P16. But it's not the way I intended to finish the season, that's for sure", he explained.
Carlos' problems were caused, mainly, by the lack of mileage.
"I wasn't able to test the ultrasofts in these conditions and hat changes everything. I had many problems to warm-up the tyres. We also had Top Speed issues. We lost 5 kilometers/hour to my teammate and right now we don't understand why and that’s what makes us be P21 without being able to run, learn or prepare the car".
Without the puncture problems, the situation would have been different.
“Had we had a good weekend, we would have qualified between P13 and P16, as in Brasil, because this is a very power-demanding circuit. In this race we would have been P11, had somebody done some mistake of if a Williams or a Toro Rosso didn’t finish. The same thing than in the last two or three races”.
Carlos doesn't doubt about his team's work ahead of this situation.
“I think the team has put in place all the possible solutions to try to ensure that the tyre doesn’t touch the chassis, but we don’t know exactly the cause of the problem. Without knowing the cause, you will always try to set-up the car around that just so that it doesn’t happen again. But you won’t be sure 100%”.
According to the driver, Toro Rosso has the problem under control.
“The team wouldn’t send us out if they didn’t believe it is the right thing to do. The team says that if something is wrong or we don’t want to run, we don’t have to. The team is very loyal to us and we are happy right now because tyres are not exploding. There’s been less contact. We are all confident and happy, but not 100% sure whether the issue has been solved for tomorrow”, he concluded.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will start tomorrow at 17:00 local time, 14:00 Spanish Time (GMT +1)