Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake completed its first day of on-track action at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. On a day concluded under the floodlights at the Saudi street circuit, the team explored different setup options ahead of tomorrow's qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: work remains to be done to improve the performance of the C43 for this challenging track, but the team – both in Jeddah and back in Hinwil – is crunching the data to be in the best possible shape tomorrow.
Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake C43 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)
FP1: 18th / 1:31.970 (25 laps)
FP2: 20th / 1:31.052 (30 laps)
"The first feeling with the car is quite ok: we didn't have any issues with the balance, and we have a solid basis to build on. We did a lot of work today, trying different wing levels and setup options, and now we need to sit down, look at the data and make some decisions on which are the right calls. Of course, we are not yet where we want to be and at the levels we showed in Bahrain, when we were the fifth fastest team: we need to find a bit more pace still, make a step forward ahead of qualifying. But it's only Friday and I'm confident we can do it when it really matters. The field is very close, as expected, and with a small gain there is no reason we cannot make up places in qualifying. We'll work hard tonight – I don't think Q3 is out of reach, and we'll give our best shot at it tomorrow."
Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake C43 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
FP1: 19th / 1:31.986 (22 laps)
FP2: 16th / 1:30.837 (27 laps)
"It was a busy day in the car: we are not too far off from our rivals when it comes to pace, although I can say we expected a little bit more from today. We tried different settings, switching things and making changes, and I effectively drove a significantly different car between the first and the second session: it took some adapting, but the team now has all the data we need to make the best decisions when it comes to setup. Of course, every weekend we aim for Q3, and it's a matter of how much we can get out from myself and from the car – especially when the margins are so small. There is still some work to do overnight, but I am confident we can get in the mix and fight for good positions in qualifying tomorrow."