Pierre Gasly, Formula 1’s newest race winner, was happy with his Friday at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, with the Frenchman ending inside the top eight in both free practice sessions.
The Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver, who took a surprise victory in last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, was fifth fastest in the first practice session at Mugello and eighth in the afternoon, although he admits he did not feel completely comfortable driving the AT01.
“Overall, it was a strong Friday as we finished both sessions in the top ten,” said Gasly. “It was quite impressive and very enjoyable to drive these F1 cars on such a track with so many high-speed corners, it was very cool!
“I didn’t feel fully comfortable in the car, so we’ll make some changes for tomorrow to find a bit more performance and get more out of our package.”
Team-mate Daniil Kvyat also feels there is improvements to make on his side of the garage, with the Russian ending seventh in the morning session but only fifteenth in the afternoon.
“It was OK today,” said Kvyat. “We’re at a new circuit and it’s definitely a cool track and it was great fun to drive.
“We were able to learn a lot and put a good number of laps in, trying to discover what’s best for the car here, as you need a good car balance in order to have confidence. I think we have some room for improvement for tomorrow and we’ll do our best to achieve it.”
“Everyone received a massive boost with the fantastic result at the last event” – Jonathan Eddolls
Jonathan Eddolls, the Chief Race Engineer at AlphaTauri, says the team received a ‘massive boost’ to their confidence thanks to their surprise victory at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
With Mugello hosting the third race of the third triple-header of 2020 there is a lot of fatigue going around the paddock, but the Monza result was just the tonic needed for AlphaTauri heading into this weekend.
Mugello is a new track to the team, so the celebrations of Monza were relatively short as they prepared for the ninth race of the year. Eddolls said they had a lot of work to do on Friday to both learn the track and continue development of the AT01, and he was positive about the outcome of the day as they found themselves in or about the top ten.
“We’re at the third race of the triple-header which is hard on the team, although everyone received a massive boost with the fantastic result at the last event,” said Eddolls. “The celebrations were fairly short-lived as we come to a new track in Formula 1 racing. We’ve never been to this track in this era of F1, so there was a lot of preparation to do in a short time between Monza and Mugello.
“We continued the AT01 development here, so compared to the car we had in Monza, we’ve got new components both on the aero and mechanical side. As this a new track, we aimed to give the drivers as much running as possible but that, combined with trying to evaluate our new components, made FP1 a busy session. We found a good compromise to gather all the data we needed, as well as giving the engineers time to find the optimum balance.
“FP1 was positive, we were fairly happy and everything appeared to be working as expected. FP2 was a bit more of a conventional session, ultimately it was about understanding Qualifying performance, but also evaluating the tyres over the long runs.
“Pierre had a positive session and showed good performance, while Dany struggled a little bit more with the balance and grip on his car, particularly on the option tyre. He wasn’t able to extract the maximum potential neither over the short nor the long run, so we have a bit more work to do on his car to understand why he was struggling with the handling.
“We have a good amount of work to do tonight to give him a car that can be competitive and fight to get into Q3 tomorrow. We will also be focusing on tyre behaviour to allow us to make the best choice for the race strategy on Sunday.”