It seems the comeback to Canada has been a good sign for Alpine F1. After a mixed FP1, where Alonso had a clean run and Ocon had issues with breaks, and a very solid FP2 where both drivers found themselves in Top 10, it seems the team is positive for both Saturday and Sunday.
Alpine is currently 5th in the championships standings, 6 points clear from Alfa Romeo on 6th but 18 points behind McLaren. Despite that, the team has shown some good performance so far into the season.
After the free practice sessions ended, Alonso, Ocon and Pat Fry, the CTO of Alpine have spoken about the weekend so far.
In regards to his troubled run on Friday and the rest of the weekend, Esteban Ocon said: “It feels good to be back in Montreal and drive here after four years away for me. Today was all about getting back to grips with the track and understanding it. It’s important to tune the car and optimise it as best as we can for a track like this and I think we used both sessions well for that today.
“We were a bit unlucky early in FP1 with the plastic bag getting stuck in my front right brake and losing time, but it was a productive day nevertheless. We missed the rain by minutes today but looks like it will be wet tomorrow and we might see a bit of a shuffle in the order of cars, which could make it interesting. From the looks of it, we have a competitive car, so hopefully we can make the most of the opportunities.”
Fernando Alonso had a very decent run in both sessions, with P3 in FP1 and P5 in FP2. In regards to that, he said: “I think it was another decent Friday for us today. The car seems to be performing quite well at this challenging track here in Montreal. We haven’t raced in Canada for a number of years and it does feel a bit different than in previous years. Things like riding the kerbs gives a very different feeling with the ground effect cars. Overall, it was a good experience today. It looks like it could be a mixed weather forecast tomorrow, so we tried to get as much data as we could in preparation for the race.”
Fry believes Saturday’s Qualifications can be wet. He stays positive, and hope’s the team will have a good run despite the conditions. As he said: “It’s been a relatively productive Friday for the team today across both practice sessions The track, as expected, was a little low on grip to begin but once some rubber was laid down it improved quite a lot and we were able to progress through our run plans straight away.
“Unfortunately, Esteban caught some debris on-track during the session, which forced his front right brakes to overheat. We were able to clean the part to get him back out for some of the session before making further amends over the interval. Fernando enjoyed a smoother afternoon and was generally happier with his base set-up from the get-go and that’s probably reflected on the timesheets. Esteban, after the misfortune in FP1, was able to grow into his running as the day progressed.
“Our long runs looked quite sensible with both drivers running Hard tyres towards the end of the second practice session. We’ll be keeping a close look on the weather as rain is forecast throughout the weekend here in Montreal and we could well see a wet Qualifying session.”