The opening day of the official Formula 1 shakedown test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a bit of a nightmare for Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN, who hardly featured on track, or perhaps it was their camouflage livery giving away this perception!
The opening day saw issues for both Reserve Driver Robert Kubica and the newly signed Valtteri Bottas, who both lost valuable running time due to costly issues with the C42. Despite the opening day disappointment, Bottas was pleased to be in the car with his new team and is hoping to gain more valuable track time across the remaining days. The Finnish driver completed 23 laps on Wednesday.
“It’s always nice to get back behind the wheel after the winter break, especially with a new car, a new team and a new generation of Formula One cars. I did enjoy my time in the car, even though we had some issues that turned out to be pretty costly in terms of time lost. The important thing, however, is that we were able to understand them completely and we know how to fix them: we may have run out of time to do that today, but we still got some running under our belt and we know how to progress.
“Now I hope we can get two good days tomorrow and Friday to catch up on the time we lost today and complete our programme for the test. My first impression of the car is positive, so far I did not feel massive differences between the old-generation cars and the new ones, definitely not night and day. Of course, one needs to adjust the driving a little bit, but nothing too drastic: still, we have a lot of learning to do and we’re keen to get back to work on track tomorrow.”
“We had a couple of issues that limited our running” – Robert Kubica
It was Polish veteran Kubica who kicked-off the running for Alfa Romeo, even if it was very short-lived! Due to issues with the car the Polish driver was only able to complete nine laps of the Spanish Circuit. Despite the obvious shame, Kubica is proud of his team for doing a strong job at repairing the car and getting it back out onto the track.
“It wasn’t the best of mornings as we had a couple of issues that limited our running. The guys did a good job to solve them and it’s nice to see the spirit with which the team faced them, but in the end we lost a big chunk of time. The little running I did feels like an appetiser, but obviously I wanted more! That’s racing, though, the important thing is that we can recover some ground tomorrow and continue discovering our new baby. The first impressions of the car are positive, but there’s so much more we need to find out.”