BWT Alpine F1 Team began its preparations for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix with a smooth Friday Practice at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which saw both home hero Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon run inside the top ten.
After the raucous atmosphere in Miami last time out, Formula 1 returned to more familiar surroundings in Barcelona, the scene of this season’s pre-season testing and the venue where the A522 made its on-track debut in February. This time, though, temperatures were much warmer than pre-season, peaking at over 30C air and 42C track.
Both drivers ran a productive programme to seek the best set-up around the 4.6km circuit. Fernando ended the day sixth in Free Practice 2 with a 1min 20.203secs – completing 50 laps across the day – with Esteban ninth on a 1min 20.745secs from 53 laps.
Conditions are set to remain dry and hot in Barcelona with Free Practice 3 taking place tomorrow, Saturday, at 12:00 local time before Qualifying at 15:00.
“It’s great to be back driving in Barcelona. It’s nice to feel how different the car is since we first drove here for winter testing. It’s definitely evolved in the right direction, and I can feel a significant difference. Today we seem to be contenders for the top ten, which is always positive on a Friday. There is more work to do, though, that’s for sure. After both practice sessions today, we know where we need to focus our efforts to be in a good position for tomorrow. All in all, it’s been a solid day of data gathering and now it’s heads down tonight to make sure we can be at our best tomorrow for qualifying.”
“It was a reasonable day for us today. After winter testing in February, we had some tests to do because the car has changed so much between then and now. We tried to evaluate a few things and carry out our normal job assessing the tyres. We have collected some useful data, but it’s clear we need to further improve the car for tomorrow. The balance isn’t perfect, so there is more of a job to do tonight to make sure that we are best prepared for qualifying tomorrow. I enjoyed seeing the grandstands full and hopefully we can put on a good show tomorrow.”
Pat Fry, Chief Technical Officer
“It was a relatively standard and trouble-free Friday Practice today where we’ve completed a normal programme mixed between short runs and long runs. We’re looking reasonably competitive on single lap pace, as we have been recently, but we have been concentrating on experiments to improve our long run pace and have plenty of data to work through this evening. It’s been a key area of focus for us at the moment and we’re trying different things to further improve our pace on that front. The upgrades we’ve brought to this race are relatively small steps but, they all count, they are functioning well, and we’re happy with those so far this weekend.”