2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Friday

Abu Dhabi

2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Friday.jpg

Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake kick-started the final race weekend of the 2023 season with two productive practice sessions at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The team's reserve driver, Théo Pourchaire, produced some consistent work during FP1, while Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu found an immediate connection with the Yas Marina Circuit, closing FP2 solidly into the top ten – P4 for Valtteri, P7 for Zhou.

Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake C43 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
FP1: 4th / 1:26.453 (21 laps)
FP2: 4th / 1:25.024 (16 laps)

"It is definitely quite nice to finish both sessions in P4, although it's quite difficult to say where we really stand at the end of today. We had a couple of unusual sessions today: the first one featuring several rookie drivers, and the second one affected by two red flags in a row – therefore not allowing everyone to get good laps in. Still, we went through the full programme for the day, and the feeling in the car is pretty good, which is promising for the days ahead. Of course, there is still a long way to go, and we need to be at our best for Qualifying and for Sunday's race as well. Our target for Saturday remains Q3, and if we do our homework right overnight, we have a solid chance of achieving that tomorrow."

Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake C43 (Chassis 01/Ferrari)
FP1: Did not take part
FP2: 7th / 1:25.223 (18 laps)

"It's been a good day, I am glad I was able to get up to speed right away, despite the red flags that disrupted FP2. We had good rhythm out of the box and I felt comfortable with the balance, so it was a smooth day for me. Effectively, we had 18 laps at full push, but the car felt in the right place and that's the start of the weekend we needed. It's good to see we were able to gain confidence right away, and that the upgrades we brought seem to be working well. It's only Friday, but we are in the right window: still, we will need to improve tonight if we want to stay competitive, because everyone else will."

Théo Pourchaire (car number 98):
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake C43 (Chassis 01/Ferrari)
FP1: 14th / 1:27.093 (20 laps)
FP2: Did not take part

"Driving this car is always an incredible feeling, and I'm grateful to the team for the trust they put in me, and for the opportunity they gave me to contribute to our work today. I was really looking forward to driving, especially after missing out in Mexico, and I am pleased by the productive session we had. The track was quite green and there wasn't much grip, but I felt better with every lap and I feel we had a good progression from Hard to Soft compounds. I am happy I was able to help the team in the session, and I'm looking forward to getting back in the car in the post-season test, especially to experience the difference in grip levels after the full race weekend."

Credit: Alfa Romeo F1 Team official website