Gelael pleased with chemistry after F1 tyre testing

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Indonesia’s Sean Gelael was 10th fastest in the Toro Rosso during Tuesday’s Formula 1 tyre testing session in Abu Dhabi.

The Prema Formula 2 driver took part in a question and answer session afterwards, where he discussed the car’s performance and his chemistry with the team.

How was your day?

Very good. In the morning it was long, because obviously we did the race runs with the harder compounds – new hard, new medium, new softs. Lots of laps there. The harder tyres in Abu Dhabi don’t work so good, but it was quite good to collect datas for the team. It was a bit more fun in the afternoon with the qualifying runs on the supersofts, ultrasofts and new hypersofts. I think we made decent steps, that one particular lap we did was quite good. The information we collected was really important, and during the race runs with all those tyres, we understood a bit more about the characteristics of the tyres. It’s crucial for the development for next year – for the aero of the car and to know which part to focus on. We collected a lot of information, so it was a positive day.

What does it mean to you to play a big part of the development?

I think we have great chemistry together with the team, they trust my feedback as well as my driving, so obviously it’s a good feeling to be acknowledged and to know that my feedback is just as good as the race drivers. That’s the most important thing.

What did you learn about the car?

Sadly, in Abu Dhabi we weren’t too competitive this year, so obviously we tried to learn what kind of difference we could make for next year. Besides that I learned a lot about the tyres, how to adapt to them the best way. You learn a lot of different things, especially when you do 117 laps – for example how to adapt your driving style to the different compounds.

You’ve tried the halo as well?

Yes, but only in the morning in the first hour. I did only three laps and then we removed it. This was only a small aerodynamic testing of the halo.

How was it? It’s interesting because next year you will have halo on your F2 race car as well

Actually, it was not so bad. It was not a problem that I have a rod in front of me, because you rarely focus on the straight as you always have to focus on the corners and everything. Maybe at the start it will be a bit difficult to see the lights, but I don’t think that this will be an issue. I think it’s more about the aerodynamic of the car, which will be changed a bit with the halo. We will see but it’s interesting.

Working with your engineers is always an exciting part of your job?

Yes! Obviously I have so many engineers, most of them are very experienced guys and you can learn a lot from them. For example, I have to look what kind of feedback they want more of from me but they can give me a lot of input as well.

How was the work today with Marco Matassa who has worked with several drivers as race engineer in the past at Toro Rosso?

I worked with him almost all of my free practice outings this year. We know each other very well. We have a consistent and good relationship and that’s good, because you feel that you trust them and they trust you. If you have a relationship like this, you can learn more and you can learn faster.

Now you have to switch your focus on F2 as you will start your preparation for 2018 with Prema

Yes, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday I think I will do a lot of laps at the Abu Dhabi circuit! This will be a new start again and this should be good. We already have a good chemistry going on and hopefully everything will be okay.