BWT Alpine F1 Team had a productive Friday ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, closing off the day’s practice with Esteban Ocon eighth on the time sheets for both sessions and Fernando Alonso filling in tenth in Free Practice 1 and eleventh in Free Practice 2.
Ocon was pleased with Friday’s running, as the team was able to run through their programme free of complications. The team used the track time to learn more about the car and how it reacts to varied conditions at the high-speed street circuit.
“We completed our planned Friday programme and did not encounter any issues. The more we spend time on track the more we understand the balance, the different compounds and we were able to see how the car behaves in the evening, as the track is much quicker in those conditions. It was a good day of learning in that respect and the key will be to get the car in that sweet spot for the night race. Overall, I’m happy and aiming to continue the momentum.”
Alonso suggested that the A522 has more pace than what was seen during their race-focused Friday practice programme– a positive sign for the team’s performance going into Saturday qualifying.
“We have mainly focused on the race preparation so far this weekend and it has gone relatively smoothly for us on track. There is also more performance in the car than we showed today, so that’s encouraging for tomorrow.”
Alonso said that the new-generation car is performing well and is not showing any extreme differences to last year’s car at the demanding Jeddah Corniche Circuit. He also said it may be running better at this circuit than last week’s venue, Bahrain International Circuit.
“It’s a challenging circuit to qualify on with such high speeds and high adrenaline. The new cars felt good on this track and not too dissimilar to last year. I think the overall lap times looked quite competitive too. From just today’s running it looks as though this generation of Formula 1 car is perhaps better suited to this track than what we found in Bahrain.”