Jean-Eric Vergne has admitted that his Toro Rosso team are “facing major problems” after a troubled final day of testing in Bahrain for the Faenza-based outfit.
The Frenchman spent most of the final day of the second test in the garage, after a serious problem arose with the team’s all-new Renault engine, which limited his time on track to just 19 laps.
Renault has had a problematic start to the new 1.6l V6 turbo era, with the failure on the Toro Rosso the latest in a line of problems to beset the four teams that the French engine manufacturer supplies, since testing got underway in Jerez last month.
“There’s no point in making negative comments, because everyone knows we are facing major problems and we are not alone in that,” said Vergne, who clarified to press in the Bahrain paddock that the problem had indeed been engine related.
“We knew when we came to Bahrain that there had not been enough time since the previous test to have solved all our issues. On the positive side, we have managed to fix some of them now.”
However, aside from the team’s issues with the Renault power-plant, Vergne was quick to applaud his Toro Rosso team for building what he believes is a good car in the STR9, even if its performance is being somewhat hamstrung by troubles on the engine side.
“Even if I have not done so many laps, it’s clear from those I have managed to complete, that Toro Rosso has done a good job to give me a car that feels nice to drive, if we talk about the elements that used to be the main topics before this year, such as the aero and mechanical side of the package.
“It’s frustrating, but we need to keep calm and not get stressed as there are still a few weeks before Melbourne,” said the Frenchman. “We will try again here in Bahrain starting on Thursday. Clearly, in Melbourne, just finishing the race will mean you have a good chance of scoring points.”
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