The BWT Alpine F1 Team entered the Miami International Autodrome for the first time on Friday under the impressive backdrop of the Hard Rock Stadium while. It is the debut in Formula 1 for the Miami Grand Prix and the Grand Prix weekend started positively for Fernando Aloso and Esteban Ocon.
The track proved to be lacking in grip early on with the blazing Floridian sun bringing track temperatures to 56C. Both drivers threw themselves into their schedule and Fernando finished the day with the fifth fastest time – a 1 minute 30.372 seconds – around the 5.412km circuit with Esteban – with the new, improved floor package – in ninth on a 1 minute 30.861 seconds.
Esteban Ocon: “After waiting so long for this race weekend and with all the hype, it’s finally great to be on the track and really experience it all. For us it was a good day to learn about what is a brand new track for everyone. We’ve had a first taste of how the car would behave with the simulator work we’ve done beforehand, but with new data, of course, we can now start confirming and dig deeper into some of the points of discussion. The car seems competitive and moving in the right direction, which is good news, but it’s tomorrow and Sunday that counts. There’s more to come.”
Fernando Alonso: “It was a good day for us, we got to know the track and went from the simulator laps to the real track. There are always some differences, so today was all about understanding everything quickly. It’s an interesting track to drive and I think we had a clean Friday. There’s a lot of data to analyze now and you can see there’s a lot more to come for everyone. We have to keep fine-tuning the car; we’re looking again this weekend and I think we’re in a good position – I’m optimistic. †
Alan Permane, Sporting Director: “It’s great to be here in Miami and experience the buzz around the place that brings Formula 1 to the city. The organizers have done a really good job of building an impressive track with some fantastic facilities, which has brought a really cool atmosphere to the event. In terms of track performance, we’ve had two solid sessions with both cars, albeit with some interruptions with several red flags. We focused on improving our race pace, so today our focus was based on some experiments to better understand and ultimately improve our pace in the long run. With both drivers in the top ten and Fernando in fifth, it shows that our one-lap pace is still strong. It’s hard to have a clear picture on long runs because of the red flags in Free Practice 2, so there’s still some work to be done. Other than that it was a good day and we are all looking forward to tackling the rest of the weekend.”