The Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team used one of their filming days at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari earlier this year, and Pierre Gasly hopes the small amount of running they did that day will benefit them during this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Gasly says the two-day weekend will make setting up the car for Qualifying and the race more difficult than usual, but they were able to get a good handle on the car during the one practice session they had during the Eifel Grand Prix earlier this month so hopes are high of a similar outcome this weekend.
“In June we had a filming day with the team there, and even if it was possible to do only a few laps, I enjoyed running around the track a lot,” said Gasly. “It’s an old-school track, one of those I really like, with gravel traps, high-speed and blind corners and elevation changes.
“It’s not going to be easy to set up the car properly for Qualifying and the race with only one free practice, but it’s a nice challenge which makes the weekend very exciting.
“Actually, we have tested this format at the Nürburgring when both Friday sessions were cancelled, and I have to say we managed to do everything we needed and the race was a really good one. Hopefully, it will be the same in Imola where the temperatures might be quite cold like in Germany.”
The Imola circuit is the closest track Formula 1 uses to AlphaTauri’s Faenza base, but Gasly is disappointed that no one will be able to visit the track due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Last but not least, it’s another home Grand Prix, the closest one to the team’s HQ – only around 20 km away,” said the Frenchman. “It’s a pity that, because of the Covid situation, people are not allowed in the paddock, otherwise it could have been a great opportunity for all the Scuderia AlphaTauri employees to visit the garage in organized slots and see live on site what they all work for.
“I’ll try to do all I can to deliver the best possible performance like always, good points in Imola would be a big thank you to them all.”
“I am looking forward to the weekend a lot” – Daniil Kvyat
Team-mate Daniil Kvyat admits he has been looking forward to racing at Imola, and he hopes to put together a strong weekend as his future with AlphaTauri beyond 2020 looks increasingly uncertain.
The Russian has scored only fourteen of the team’s seventy-seven points so far this year and has a best finish of seventh in the Tuscan Grand Prix, and AlphaTauri could replace Kvyat at the end of the year. Japanese racer Yuki Tsunoda is the favourite for the seat, providing he does enough to earn himself a Superlicence in the final two FIA Formula 2 rounds of the season.
Kvyat hopes to be competitive at Imola, and much like Gasly, he is expecting the one and only free practice session on Saturday morning to be busy as everyone looks to set up their car for both Qualifying and the race.
“I am looking forward to the weekend a lot,” said Kvyat. “It’s a very exciting track and we did just a few laps there before the season for a filming day. In any case, I knew it from before when I raced there in Formula Renault eight years ago.
“It’s a lovely old-fashioned track with cool corners and it’s great to see it back on the calendar. Hopefully, we can be competitive there. It’s yet another home race, the third in Italy and for me, there was also the Russian Grand Prix. I like having a lot of races in Italy because in the end, this country has such strong links to motorsport and it’s cool that we are going there.
“We also have to deal with just a Saturday and a Sunday weekend. That was meant to be something new, but we have actually tested the system and had a taste of it at the Nürburgring already! It means you have to work on a steeper learning curve and there is a risk of not finding the ideal setup with a lot less running.
“But it’s the same for everyone, we just need to be proactive and get it right straight away.”