17 March 2023
BWT Alpine F1 Team started its Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit with Esteban Ocon fourth on the timesheets and Pierre Gasly sixth after a productive Friday Practice.
The team ran through a smooth programme today in preparation for the second race of the season on the west coast of Saudi Arabia looking to build off its mixed weekend in Bahrain last time out.
In its pink BWT colours for the second of three races this season, Pierre started the day by ranking eighth in Free Practice 1 with a lap time of 1min 30.949secs, with Esteban twelfth on a 1min 31.181secs.
For Free Practice 2 under the floodlights and evening sky – conditions similar to Qualifying and Race – both drivers ran Mediums and later Softs. Prior to starting the long runs, Esteban’s lap time of 1min 30.039secs and Pierre’s 1min 30.100secs proved good enough to see both drivers slot into the top six. For the remaining 15minutes of the day, Esteban ran high fuel on Mediums and Pierre on Softs.
Esteban Ocon: “It’s nice to come back to a track like Jeddah as it’s a really fast and thrilling street circuit, which forces everyone to be on their toes at all times. Our Friday was productive where we tried different things, which will help us in both Qualifying and Race conditions. So far, the car feels strong, and I think there is more we can extract ahead of tomorrow evening’s Qualifying. The team did a great job today to get through the programme and we will be working hard tonight to be in a good place for tomorrow. All in all, it’s been a good day at the office.”
Pierre Gasly: “It’s great to be back here in Jeddah at this very fast and exciting race track. It’s been a busy day for us as we continue to learn about our 2023 package and, I must say, I’ve been pleased with today’s work. After two weeks in Bahrain, it’s nice to be taking on a new track and a new challenge. It’s very high-speed here and there’s a lot you have to get right to be quick. The car feels good, we have a good idea on the set-up direction we want to take and there’s more to come from us this weekend. My focus is on working hard with the engineers to make sure we’re well prepared for Qualifying and returning with a better performance than we showed last time out.”
Pat Fry, Chief Technical Officer: “It’s been a reasonable Friday Practice for the team today here in Jeddah for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. For us, it’s been interesting to see the car on a completely different circuit to what we’ve seen so far this year, as the characteristics here steer towards lower downforce with lots of high-speed corners. We’re pleased with our work today with both drivers offering similar feedback on the directions to take on set-up, which leaves us in decent shape for the rest of the weekend. We have plenty of data to work through to prepare ourselves for tomorrow’s Qualifying where we aim for a much-improved performance from Bahrain to set ourselves up for a better Race on Sunday. A solid start with more to come.”