Yesterday witnessed the latest team return to work in preparation for next week’s season opener, as AlphaTauri carried out a filming day at Imola.
Training in the gym, working on the simulator, karting; have all helped fill the time during the shutdown, but for a Formula 1 driver, nothing can match the feeling you get sitting in a real car.
Consequently, three and half months after the end of winter testing in Barcelona, Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly were back behind the wheel, just over a week before the season gets underway on 5 July with the Austrian Grand Prix.
In hot and sunny weather, the pair started off by doing some laps in the STR13, the Faenza outfit’s 2018 car, which meant it was not subject to a maximum number of permitted kilometres.
It was a useful way of getting back in the swing of things after such a long break. Gasly kicked things off, before Kvyat took over, stopping shortly before 13:00. The Russian ended the day with a series of doughnuts.
After lunch, when we took the opportunity to wish its team manager, Graham Watson a happy birthday, before getting down to work once more, to tackle the actual filming day schedule in the AT01, this year’s car, the first of the AlphaTauri era.
“I was really happy to be back on track after such a long wait,” said Gasly. “I had really missed that feeling you get from driving so it was incredible to be back in the STR13 and the AT01.
“We had a really smooth day, doing some laps in both cars. In the morning, I woke up feeling excited and happy and later that night, I fell asleep in the same mood.
“It was also special to drive a Formula 1 car at Imola, which is one of my favourite tracks. I think we are now ready for Austria.”
“Being at Imola felt great!” added Kvyat. “I’ve known the track for a while now because I did one of my first tests here for Formula BMW in 2010 and raced in Formula Renault Alps in 2012 and so it was lovely to finally return for a filming day with the team.
“Imola is a track which is really nice to drive with lots of fast corners and I think it deserves to return to the F1 calendar. It was a special feeling being back in the car after such a long break and I really enjoyed it.
“The long break made driving an F1 car again feel even more exciting than usual.”