Alpine F1 Team finished today's practice for the United States Grand Prix narrowly outside the top ten after a far from straightforward Friday at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
With both Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon returning to Texas for the first time since 2018, the pair found themselves just on the edge of the top ten in both practice sessions around the scorching hot 5.513km circuit.
In the morning session, Fernando's track time was cut short due to an operational issue experienced immediately after he left the garage. Once the car was recovered and checked over, Fernando resumed his session with just under twenty minutes left on the clock and ended up in fifteenth position on limited running.
On the other side of the garage, Esteban experienced a trouble-free morning. He ran on Softs (C4) and finished ahead of his team-mate in twelfth with a 1min 36.970secs.
For Free Practice 2, Fernando sampled Mediums (C3) and Softs, while Esteban ran Hards (C2) and Softs. In the last few moments of the session, Fernando hit the wall at the penultimate corner after running slightly wide, but he was able to safely return his A521 to the garage.
At the end of the hour, Esteban finished eleventh on a 1min 36.158secs, with Fernando two tenths down in thirteenth position on a 1min 36.376secs.
Esteban Ocon: "Today for me was like discovering a totally different track to when I was last here in 2018. There are a lot more bumps, more dirt on track and some different rules with track limits in places, so it was an interesting challenge today. We improved the car from FP1 to FP2 and we still have areas to work on. It's not perfect or where we want to be, but we can work overnight and see what we can do tomorrow. It was nice to sample the helmet camera today. It's awesome to see the footage, as it really gives the vision of how it feels driving a Formula 1 car. To have that technology available is definitely something cool as it shares our point of view. Only 20 drivers have that perspective, and now we can share a glimpse of that to everyone!"
Fernando Alonso: "It was not the easiest day out there for us. We had an issue in FP1, but our mechanics fixed it very quickly which was good, and we got some running in. It's quite demanding here with the bumpy surface and track conditions. I clipped the barrier at the end of the session, so it shows how challenging it is. It's difficult to know where we are in the timesheets, but there is definitely some work for us to do tonight. Let's see what we can do tomorrow and hopefully we have a slightly smoother day."
Davide Brivio, Racing Director: "It was not our strongest Friday of the season today. For Fernando especially, it was more complicated than usual. We had an issue in FP1, which was quickly fixed, with no physical damage sustained to the car and then in FP2 he lightly hit the wall at Turn 19 towards the end of the session. So, he missed out on some track time today but it was a more productive day for Esteban. Now we will try to use the all information that we collectively have to improve for tomorrow. There was some pre-weekend talk on the bumps here, they are an issue but the drivers are trying to adapt to it together with the car. We're looking forward to tomorrow, we'll keep working and we aim to make some improvements."