Once the novelty of the up-and-down layout wears off and the teams get down to the business of learning a new track, however, it’s Friday as usual. It’s lap after lap of discovering the hidden secrets of the circuit – every bump, every kerb, the evolution of the slippery tarmac – and fine-tuning the car’s setup with the long view to qualifying and the race firmly in your mind.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing on track: red flags, brought out by various technical issues and a few blows exchanged in the unusually feisty practice sessions, meant our programme was a bit stop-start – but so was everyone’s. In the end, despite the disruptions, our total lap count numbered 138 rounds, plenty of data for the engineers to crunch overnight ahead of tomorrow’s sessions.
Learning a new track from scratch is never easy: having done a good job on Friday, however, is what is needed to start the race weekend in the right way. Hopefully, unlike on a trip to Pico, tomorrow there won’t be a mountain to climb.
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)
1st practice: 8th / 1:19.954 (35 laps) / 2nd practice: 15th / 1:20.490 (34 laps)
“It was very slippery out there, but once conditions improve this should be a pretty nice track to drive. It’s a fun layout, although I honestly expected it to be a bit trickier before the weekend. The lack of grip was an issue, but I am sure the others were not that happy either. The track will evolve and we will find something to increase the grip – the conditions were already better in FP2, although we ended up losing a lot of time with the red flags. We’ll see what steps we can take tonight to be in a good shape for tomorrow.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
1st practice: 16th / 1:21.009 (35 laps) / 2nd practice: 20th / 1:21.396 (34 laps)
“I drove on this track in F3, but to go around here in a Formula One car is a completely different experience. It’s a really nice layout, with blind crests and challenging corners – a fun one to drive. The track was very green and the grip levels very low, which made especially the morning session quite difficult. In the afternoon, the red flag disrupted our programme as they stopped our low-fuel runs, so we didn’t really put a time together: we’ll only see tomorrow what our level really is.”
The Sauber Group of Companies is composed of three operational entities: Sauber Motorsport AG, which operates and manages the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN Formula One team; Sauber Engineering AG, which focuses on prototype development and additive manufacturing; and Sauber Aerodynamik AG, which conducts full and model-scale testing in the factory’s state-of-the-art wind tunnel and creates ground-breaking innovations in the field of aerodynamics. The companies collaborate closely and share know-how to apply the expertise of more than 500 dedicated individuals at the headquarter in Hinwil, Switzerland, to all internal and external projects. Since its founding in 1970, the passion for racing has been at the heart of Sauber.
For the last 50 years, the innovative Swiss company has been setting standards in the design, development and construction of race cars for various championship series, such as Formula One, DTM, and WEC. Following its own Formula One debut in 1993, Sauber Motorsport AG has established one of the few traditional and privately held teams in the sport. After 25 years of competition in Formula One, the company launched a long-term partnership with Alfa Romeo in 2018 and enters the 2020 championship under the new team name Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN.
Sauber Motorsport AG
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