BWT Alpine F1 Team started its 2022 Canadian Grand Prix preparation today with a positive Friday Practice as both Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon ran inside the top ten on the timesheets under the impressive backdrop of Montreal at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
On Formula 1’s first visit to Montreal in three years as well as both Fernando and Esteban’s return to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time since 2018, the team set about getting both cars and drivers up to speed on the unique, semi-permanent, water guarded course.
Fernando enjoyed a clean run in Free Practice 1 and ended the session in third place after a solid lap on Pirelli’s Medium (C4) tyres.
Esteban’s opening session was hindered with loose debris on-track getting caught in his front right brake duct, which caused the brakes to overheat. Once the debris was dislodged and the subsequent parts repaired, Esteban was able to get back on track to resume his running.
For Free Practice 2, both drivers began on Softs (C5), with their best laps good enough for both to be inside the top ten; Fernando in fifth and Esteban in tenth.
With half an eye on incoming rain – as is largely forecast throughout the weekend in Montreal – both sides of the garage ran high fuel on new Hards (C3).
Tomorrow, Free Practice 3 begins at 13:00 local time before Qualifying at 16:00.
“It feels good to be back in Montreal and drive here after four years away for me. Today was all about getting back to grips with the track and understanding it. It’s important to tune the car and optimise it as best as we can for a track like this and I think we used both sessions well for that today. We were a bit unlucky early in FP1 with the plastic bag getting stuck in my front right brake and losing time, but it was a productive day nevertheless. We missed the rain by minutes today but looks like it will be wet tomorrow and we might see a bit of a shuffle in the order of cars, which could make it interesting. From the looks of it, we have a competitive car, so hopefully we can make the most of the opportunities.”
“I think it was another decent Friday for us today. The car seems to be performing quite well at this challenging track here in Montreal. We haven’t raced in Canada for a number of years and it does feel a bit different than in previous years. Things like riding the kerbs gives a very different feeling with the ground effect cars. Overall, it was a good experience today. It looks like it could be a mixed weather forecast tomorrow, so we tried to get as much data as we could in preparation for the race.”
Pat Fry, Chief Technical Officer
“It’s been a relatively productive Friday for the team today across both practice sessions The track, as expected, was a little low on grip to begin but once some rubber was laid down it improved quite a lot and we were able to progress through our run plans straight away. Unfortunately, Esteban caught some debris on-track during the session, which forced his front right brakes to overheat. We were able to clean the part to get him back out for some of the session before making further amends over the interval. Fernando enjoyed a smoother afternoon and was generally happier with his base set-up from the get-go and that’s probably reflected on the timesheets. Esteban, after the misfortune in FP1, was able to grow into his running as the day progressed. Our long runs looked quite sensible with both drivers running Hard tyres towards the end of the second practice session. We’ll be keeping a close look on the weather as rain is forecast throughout the weekend here in Montreal and we could well see a wet Qualifying session.”