Formula 1

2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – What the Teams are Saying ahead of the Weekend – Part 2

6 Mins read
Daniel Ricciardo racing for VCARB at the Bahrain Grand Prix
Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

The FIA Formula 1 World Championship is back in Jeddah this weekend for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, for the second part of the season opening double header.

Five teams are yet to score points, after missing out at Bahrain. With the likes of Oracle Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Ferrari and McLaren F1 Team competing at the front and in the top ten, it’s likely that only a handful of positions in the points will be available to teams in the midfield. Amongst others, Visa Cash App RB will be wanting to get their first points on the board after showing promise at the Bahrain Grand PrixDaniel Ricciardo topped the first practice session on Thursday morning.

Read what the teams in the bottom half of the championship had to say, as well as Aston Martin Armaco F1 Team’s driver ambassador, Jessica Hawkins!

#24 – Guanyu Zhou – Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“Last week’s performance has been a big confidence boost for everyone in the team. We know the basis of our car is solid and that we can fight at the front of our group of teams, but we also know that we have to keep pushing to understand how to extract its potential and set it up in the most effective way.

“There is a lot in the pipeline, and we will try and make the most of every opportunity we may have. From a personal point of view, I am very pleased of what I could deliver in Sakhir; it was a strong start of the season, and that made me hungry for more.

“Jeddah is another opportunity to do well and everyone in the team will be keen to confirm our position and fight for some points.”

#77 – Valtteri Bottas – Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“One of the positives of back-to-back races is the opportunity to bounce back immediately after a disappointing race, and this is my aim for Jeddah. I prefer to focus on the positives from last weekend: we could see the solid race pace our car can deliver, not just in Zhou’s performance but also in mine, despite the damage I suffered at the start.

“We can build on that and ensure the other elements of the weekend also improve, and I have full confidence in our ability to be competitive on every track. The track in Saudi Arabia is a fun one to drive: it’s fast, it’s got some really challenging corners and some sections with an incredible flow.

#27 – Nico Hülkenberg – MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

“The Jeddah Corniche Circuit, it’s a spectacular circuit – a super high-speed street circuit, which is very tough and challenging but I like it there. It’s a very dynamic place, the track especially, and I’ve got good memories from the two races I’ve done so far.

“I feel very well prepared for my third race here and hopefully, I can break into the points this time.”

#20 – Kevin Magnussen – MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

“I’m a big fan of the Jeddah circuit, especially as we scored points there last year. It’s a phenomenal track to drive, it’s exciting and exhilarating because it’s high-speed and at every apex, it’s a white line before a wall.

“It’s a street track that doesn’t get used throughout the year, so there’s a lot of track evolution and it’s a night race with some sessions in the day, so that changes a lot. Like in Bahrain or Singapore, you have to factor those conditions in.”

Kevin Magnussen on Wednesday at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Credit: LAT Images

#3 – Daniel Ricciardo – Visa CashApp RB

“Getting the first race done was an opportunity for everyone, including myself, to dust off the cobwebs. Over the weekend, there were some things I did well and others not so well. Now I can’t wait for the next one.

“I’m glad it’s a back-to-back and pleased we get another race immediately after the first one. I stayed in Bahrain for a few more days, taking it easy but staying active with low stress by playing Padel with some of the guys!

“There was a lot of analysis done on Saturday night after the race, and plenty of good things came from it. In the short term, it will take a perfect race from us to finish in the points, but I believe that over the course of the next few races, we’ll continue to get stronger and stronger.

“I’ve raced twice in Saudi where my best result was a fifth place. It’s a great track, one I enjoy a lot, and I’m really happy to be going back there. The grip is pretty high for a street circuit, so I’m looking forward to the high-speed challenge and the adrenaline spike that comes with it.”

#22 – Yuki Tsunoda – Visa CashApp RB

“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from Bahrain, but it ended up being better than I thought in terms of what the car could do, especially in qualifying. Actually, even the race pace was pretty good, but some factors meant this was hard to see from the outside.

“It was a useful weekend where we learnt a lot about our car, its limitations and where we can improve. For example, the changes we made from FP1 to FP2 didn’t work the way we wanted, so we changed again, and it was much better for FP3 and qualifying, so all these lessons are going to be useful in Saudi.

“Everyone is very motivated to go faster, improve the car and score points as soon as possible. We’ve seen how close the midfield is, so we know it won’t be an easy job, but we’re all determined to continue pushing.”

#23 – Alex Albon – Williams Racing

“After a disappointing first race, it’s nice to get right back into it and put our efforts into this week. Jeddah is a fun track and all about confidence with its fast and flowing nature.

“It’ll be interesting to go to another circuit and see how the FW46 performs. Hopefully we can take the learnings from Bahrain and put them to use this weekend in the midfield fight.”

#2 – Logan Sargeant – Williams Racing

“We’ve used the time between Bahrain and Saudi to understand and address the issues we encountered last weekend. Despite the problems, there are positives from start of the race that we can build on coming into round two.

“From my experience, Jeddah is one, if not the fastest street circuit on the calendar with multiple quick corners and little room for error. The midfield battle looks tight after the first race with very little separating the teams. We’ve got a great opportunity to bounce back straight away and have a positive result.”

#31 – Esteban Ocon – BWT Alpine F1 Team

“We knew that going into Bahrain with a completely new car it would be challenging, and that ultimately proved to be the case with where the two cars ended up at the finish line.”

“Now that we have a full race under our belt, it’s useful to review the comparison with other teams and analyse tyre performance. It was extremely close in Qualifying last time out – less than 0.150secs from Q2 – so hopefully we can be closer to the others this weekend in Jeddah.

“The Jeddah circuit is a really good test of the physical preparation we’ve put in over the winter. It will be interesting to see how the A524 reacts on a different layout and hopefully we fare better than in Bahrain.”

#10 – Pierre Gasly – BWT Alpine F1 Team

“The performance and end result in Bahrain was as expected coming into the season. Our aim was to keep learning and improving and try to maximise everything we had in our hands. In the end, we did not put it all together but that would not have made much of a difference to our outcome.

“We’re keeping our heads down, working hard with the tools that we have and that will require some patience. We are well aware of our situation and it will take some time to get better. That does not change my mindset, though. I’m entering this weekend ready to go for it to come away with the best possible result.

“We have had a couple of days to review and find some improvements ahead of this weekend. There are certainly small things we can take forwards into Jeddah.”

Driver ambassador and head of F1 academy – Jessica Hawkins – Aston Martin Armaco F1 Team

“There are a number of positives to take from Bahrain. The car performed in line with our expectations and, as the weekend progressed, we extracted more performance from the car and continued to understand it better.  

“We executed the weekend well and we now have a race weekend’s worth of data to study to continue improving AMR24. Double points is a solid start to the season, and no mean feat after Lance was spun around at the first corner. He showed real determination and good pace to recover.”

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