by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 116
Toaddress the students at one of the most important technical universities in the world would be a feat for any 21- year-old. But as the 21-year- old in question is Jaime Alguersuari, who was forced to ditch his studies after high school to concentrate on motor racing, seeing him in a professor’s shoes is all the more amazing. This took place as Formula One came back to Europe, during the week before the Turkish Grand Prix, when the two Red Bull teams landed in Turin for two days. The person stood in front of Politecnico’s engineering students looks just like them: young, eager, casually dressed, almost impossible to tell apart from his peers. Still, his job is to drive the fastest single-seaters in the world every fortnight. And, moreover, he’s very good at it. 2011, thanks also to the innovative double-floored Toro Rosso STR6, has begun on the right foot for Jaime: “I think the team did a great job during the winter,” he tells us, “because it’s not easy for a small and relatively unexperienced team like us to do something like this. So, we have to congratulate the team, all the engineers, Giorgio [Ascanelli, technical director], Franz [Tost, team principal], everyone who pushed to have such a competitive car.” With their performance in qualifying, the team raised eyebrows when, in China, they managed to put both cars in Q3 for the first time in their history: “Based on what we’ve shown in the last few races, we are capable of qualifying in the top 12-13, “Jaime admits. “ We managed to get to Q3, which I think still represents our limit, also thanks to a timely red flag. But, still, we were there.” The race, anyway, is another story altogether. In the first three Grands Prix of the 2011 season, Toro Rosso’s Spaniard was close to the points (11th in Australia, 14th in Malaysia) and then suffered bad luck in China, losing a wheel after the pit stop. The Achilles heel of the STR6, an ambitious but aerodynamically efficient car, is in fact the same which is causing problems to most of the grid in this first part of this season: tyre wear. “I think both of us drivers need to learn how to look after our tyres a little bit better,” he confesses. “And the team, as well, has to understand how to reduce the wear to allow us to manage them better, especially on Sunday. That’s it. I think the improvement and development margin of the car will be higher this year than the last, so I’m pretty confident of what we can do in the future.” Unfortunately for Toro Rosso, this very same year Pirelli tyres arrived in Formula One. Their wear (for explicit request of the FIA) was made much heavier, which radically modified the strength balance inside the race weekends, by making qualifyings less decisive than they used to be in the past few years. Jaime himself aknowledges this when he underlines that “the race has become a much more important factor compared to qualifying. Last year the races were much more similar to a ‘sprint’, a long qualifying session, while today they are more like endurance races.” And the few races run since the beginning of the 2011 World Championship haven’t been sufficient to fully learn how to exploit these new tyres. So, Toro Rosso is hard pressed to keep the pace of some of 32