Crash causes premature end to British Grand Prix for busy Speed
Its been a busy time for Scott Speed and the rest of the Formula One drivers, who have taken part in four races and a test session in the last five weeks.
First came the North American double-header at Montreal and Indianapolis, next was testing at the Silverstone circuit in Britain, then the French event at Magny-Cours and finally last weekends British Grand Prix. After all his hard work, however, Speed failed to make much of an impression at Silverstone.
During Friday practice, the Toro Rosso driver posted the 19th-quickest time.We had quite a lot of fuel in the car all day, he explained. With the same amount of fuel that we ran in France, when we had just a few gallons in the car and it was light, wed be at the top five of the time sheets again. It is going to be more difficult here for us than in France because our car is affected a bit more in racing conditions with being close to other cars.
While the rain, which had been forecast for the weekend, stayed away, Friday at Silverstone was blustery and windy.
Our car seems to be quite difficult in handling all the wind out there right now, Speed said. So we struggled a bit, in that sense. In general, our pace is very similar to the Red Bulls, so thats good for us and bad for them. I expect a very similar race weekend to the French Grand Prix.
In qualifying on Saturday, both Speed and his Toro Rosso team mate, Vitantonio Liuzzi, were quick enough to make it through the first session and into Q2. They ended up lining up 15th and 16th, respectively, for the race.
Our pace was similar to what we had in France at Magny-Cours, Speed said. When it comes time for everyone to go for a qualifying lap, Tonio and I have a bit less in hand. Maybe its because we push one another in practice, so we are getting the most out of the car then, without keeping anything in reserve for qualifying. Fifteenth and 16th is not bad, but we need to find a couple more tenths of a second to really be fighting in the middle of the pack.
Toro Rossos technical director, Giorgio Ascanelli, however, was pleased with the work of his drivers.
I thought it would be difficult to get into Q2, and 15th and 16th is about what I hoped we could achieve, he said. Scott did a great job this afternoon, and he was on it. As I said before, the pack is very close in terms of lap times, and we have to be happy with this performance. Unfortunately, we had a gearbox problem with Tonio, which at the moment I assume is different from anything we have seen so far. Therefore we will have to analyse it now, and I am sure it will be fixed for the race.
On Sunday, just before the start of the race, Felipe Massa stalled his Ferrari and had to go to the pit lane. On the second start, Speed managed to make a quick getaway and finished the first lap up in 12th place.
The American was running in 11th spot when he made his pit stop at the end of Lap 25. Though the stop dropped him back to 14th, he would have eventually finished higher than that because other drivers ahead of him were still to stop.
But Speed was not destined to finish. When he moved over to let race leader Fernando Alonso go by in the McLaren on Lap 29, Alexander Wurz in the Williams dived for the narrowing hole between Speeds car and the edge of the track to try and take the American's place. In the ensuing collision, the left-front suspension of Speed's Toro Rosso crumpled, and the American was out of the race. Wurz managed to keep going and eventually finished 13th.
Although Speeds British Grand Prix was over, his hectic schedule continues. The American will be present at this weeks three-day test session at Belgiums Spa circuit, which starts on Tuesday.