An eventful GP2 race in Istanbul today saw Team AirAsia struggle with tyre degradation.
After a strong start from third on the grid Luiz Razia battled to keep position, unable to challenge he dropped back to finally complete the 23 lap race in eighteenth place. Davide Valsecchi made up an impressive nine places in the early stages of the race but unfortunately his good fortune turned when he too began to suffer with the tyres mid race. The Italian eventually finished sixteenth. Now the team will review race strategy, with tyre preservation in mind ahead of round two in Barcelona in two weeks time.
Here is Team Manager Phill Spencer, Davide Valsecchi, Luiz Razia, and Chief Engineer Humphrey Corbett.
Team Manager Phill Spencer: "It has definitely been a lesson learned today. We started this morning very optimistic after a positive day yesterday, but in the end today's results are very disappointing. Looking at the other teams' performances, we must have done something wrong, so we need to rethink set up and strategy, go from there and move on ready for round two in Barcelona. "
Davide Valsecchi (Best time 1:39.536/ P16): "The severity of the tyre condition surprised us somewhat today. Everything had been going well. We had a good start and gained a lot of places to move up to seventh place and I was thinking we could finish in the points, but unfortunately this wasn't the case. We will need to work hard to solve this issue with the tyres, and focus on race performance ahead of Barcelona. I am confident we have a good qualifying car so we need to focus on the race, make sure we can save the tyres and hopefully fight for the podium in Barcelona."
Luiz Razia (Best time 1:39.244 / P18): "It was early on in the race that I felt the car was not very consistent. I lost a place at the start and again mid race when Sam Bird passed me - this battle really worked the tyres and I just couldn't keep him off. The period under the safety car also didn't help our situation with the tyres, the drop off was really big so we will need to look through all the data thoroughly and see where we can improve. It's not been a good day for us today, but on the plus side, we collected three points here yesterday and we know we have a good car for qualifying. We need to focus on race performance now and ready ourselves for Barcelona."
Chief Engineer Humphrey Corbett: "We are still puzzled with today's performances as we thought we had tyre usage covered, but it seems we have been caught unawares - lack of experience perhaps. We have shown we are up there and competitive in qualifying, but today has highlighted that we lack a little in the races. So for the future we will learn from this, change our strategy for Barcelona, and look ahead to the next race in a couple of weeks time."
Next Race: Barcelona, Spain 20th - 22nd May 2011
-source: team airasia