Alfa Romeo Racing: Spanish GP ‘Quali – ‘definitely a positive day’

Showing some grit

FIA Formula One Gran Premio de España 2020 – Qualifying – Saturday
Weather: FP3: sunny 29.9-31.6°C air, 43.7-46.3°C track; Q: sunny, 30.3-31°C air, 48.7-48.2°C track

Grit. It’s an overused word, at times, but it is not misplaced in today’s headline. Grit is what leads you to push on when nothing goes your way. It’s what helps you come up with solutions in difficult circumstances. It’s what tells you never to give up.

Grit is what the Alfa Romeo Racing team showed in qualifying to get a place in Q2: a small victory, just the first step on the way to recovery. It’s not something to celebrate: but it’s something that shows they may have been down, but their not out. There’s still a lot of work ahead of the team and points are not given out on a Saturday. The drivers start in P14 and P20 and they’ll need a lot more of what they delivered today to come home with a good result. Have no doubt the team will go out to give it all: with passion, with determination… with grit.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG: “It was an encouraging session for the team, something to build on. Kimi did an excellent job to climb out of Q1 and give us a good chance to be in the fight for the points tomorrow. It was a pity to lose Antonio so early: unfortunately he may have suffered some damage during his first run and he wasn’t able to improve on his second one. Overall, though, we seem to be going in the direction we want so we need to keep pushing to improve.”

Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 14th / 1:18.721 (11 laps) / Q: 14th / Q1: 1:17.797 (6 laps) / Q2: 1:17.386 (6laps)

“It was definitely a positive day: the car felt a lot better and it gave me the confidence to drive it how I wanted. We made it to Q2 and we could have achieved even more, but we didn’t have any more sets of soft tyres so we had to use the mediums. Perhaps we could have been in the fight for Q3 but for now we have to be happy. We had the speed and hopefully we can take it from here. We are moving in the right direction and we know what we have to do to be in the points tomorrow – be faster than the guys in front of us.”

Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
3rd practice: 18th / 1:19.175 (13 laps) / Q: 20th / 1:18.697 (6 laps)

“Not the easiest qualifying session for me. At the end of the first lap I went on a kerb and I think the floor may have got damaged. We’ll need to check what happened, but after that it was difficult to do a second lap as the handling was off. That was today, now we have to think about the race. It will be difficult to recover a good result from P20, even with a good strategy, but we’ll give everything we have.”

Robert’s guide to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Following two dramatic races at Silverstone the World Championship switches focus to Barcelona for the third leg of a busy triple-header.

The Spanish GP has switched from early May to mid-August, and temperatures of over 30C are expected throughout the weekend. That means conditions will be very different to those experienced in pre-season testing, and thus after the focus on tyres at Silverstone all teams face a new challenge.

Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN driver Robert Kubica finished fourth in his first Barcelona outing in 2007, and he repeated that result the following year. His most recent outing was in testing back in February. Here’s his guide to a track he’s very familiar with.

“I think Barcelona needs no introduction for any motorsport fan. It’s a track everybody knows very well, not only the drivers, but everyone who is in the paddock. There’s more freedom during testing, so there’s always a good opportunity during those weeks to walk around and see the cars around the track.

“As usual, we did winter testing there this year, so on one side, there are no secrets. On the other side we are going to race there in completely different conditions than we had in testing. And most of the cars are different to February, when we were last there, so there is still a bit of uncertainty, and a few question marks.

“From a driving point of view, the track doesn’t have any secrets, so you go there and – even if the conditions are different – you know what to expect because you have been there so many times.

“But in order to extract the maximum from the cars and from the tyres it’s still quite a difficult track. It’s a track which sometimes doesn’t produce spectacular races, but from a technical point of view it has everything. It is one of the most complete tracks when you look at the layout: it has high-speed and low-speed corners, hairpins, a low-speed chicane, long corners, short corners. It really offers a full 360-degree variation of corners.

“The heat will definitely be something not to underestimate, and any team shouldn’t go there and think they know everything about it. The ambient temperature has a big influence on the tyres, and the tyres are one of the factors that have the biggest influence in F1. It can be a completely different picture, especially the heavy fuel runs, they can be a bit of a shock!

“The downforce is powerful there, but if you are not in the right window with the tyres and you’re not extracting the maximum out of them, you can lose a lot of lap time. You have to make sure that you are on top of it.

“However, the amount of knowledge we have on the track means you can focus pretty soon on the tyres and try to make the most out of them. In the end the tyres are the same as last year, and everyone has a lot of data about them.”

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