There is no point in sugar coating it, the past two back-to-back races in Mexico City and Austin did not go well for us and we return home from North America having scored just two more points courtesy of a ninth place for Pierre in Mexico.
We should have scored more and not just because Daniil was given post-race penalties that dropped him out of the points in both these races, following some spirited – the Stewards felt it was too spirited – overtaking moves from our Russian driver. In Mexico, both cars qualified in the top ten and in the USA, we had one in with Pierre and one just outside with Daniil, so the pace was there, but for a variety of reasons that failed to translate into the sort of points haul we had been hoping to carry home across the Atlantic.
Pierre’s drive to the points at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was all the more noteworthy given that our Frenchman was struck down earlier in the weekend with a bad stomach bug.
It was a busy Wednesday before the serious work began, as Red Bull Mexico had organised a karting event attended by both our drivers, combined with an autograph session for the fans, who gave our pair a typically enthusiastic Mexican welcome. There was also another chance for the fans to get close to our guys when they went out to the Red Bull Fanzone at the Parque Bicentenario on Saturday.
Mexico was far from an easy race for F1 personnel, not only did ten percent of the paddock fall ill to the Mexican bug, on Sunday night, teams had to pack everything away in a hurry for the freight flight to Austin in a terrible rain storm, just to make life even more difficult. And they say Formula 1 is all glamour!
After the rain in Mexico, the weather had another surprise in store in Austin where temperatures at the start of the week barely got above freezing point, with an icy wind blowing across the Texan plains. Before heading to Austin, Pierre and Daniil headed off to Houston to visit the Johnson Space Centre, home to Mission Control for all the USA space missions. Both drivers were as keen as small boys when they were given a guided tour by both current and former astronauts, spoke live to astronaut Luca Parmitano currently up in orbit in the International Space Station, and they even got to drive a Mars Rover vehicle!
The cool conditions at the track made life difficult for all the teams on Friday, as getting tyres up to the correct operating temperature is one of the keys to a successful F1 weekend. Fortunately, the weather got warmer from then on, but the sun didn’t shine on Toro Rosso on Sunday. Daniil’s last lap clash with Sergio Perez handed the Mexican the final point for tenth place, which means that Racing Point is now a single point ahead of us in the Constructors’ championship. That’s a situation we are keen to reverse, and we now have a further two shots at redeeming ourselves, starting with the penultimate round of the season in Brazil in just under a fortnight’s time.