Training in the gym, working on the simulator, karting: all these things helped fill the time, but for a Formula 1 driver, nothing can match the feeling you get sitting in a real Formula 1 car. 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 at the Red Bull Ring.
In hot and sunny weather, our drivers started off by doing some laps in the STR13, our 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. Pierre kicked things off, before Daniil took over, stopping shortly before one o’clock. He ended the STR13’s on track life with a series of doughnuts on track.
After lunch, when we took the opportunity to wish our Team Manager Graham Watson a happy birthday, the team got down to work once more, to tackle the actual filming day schedule in the AT01, this year’s car, the first in our new AlphaTauri era. Next up for the team is a run of three races on consecutive weekend, the 5th and 12th July in Austria and the 19th in Hungary. Both Pierre and Daniil love Imola, a circuit with a lot of Formula 1 history. It staged the Italian GP in 1980 and then, from 2006 onwards it hosted 26 editions of the San Marino GP. This is what our drivers had to say at the end of the day:
“I was really happy to be back on track after such a long wait. 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! 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.”