2024 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Preview

05/03/2024

2024 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Preview

BWT Alpine F1 Team heads to Jeddah for Round 2 of the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
 

In the team’s Saudi Arabia Grand Prix preview:


- Bruno Famin reviews the first race of the season and outlines the team’s plans for Jeddah.

- Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly reflect on the season opener and share their thoughts on the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

- The Alpine Academy features FIA Formula 2 and F1 Academy in Jeddah.

- The team will again run the inverted pink livery as part of its title partnership with BWT.

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Bruno Famin, team principal
 

 

Reflections on Bahrain
 

It’s been a busy first few weeks to the season in Bahrain where we have faced testing and the first of 24 races. We continue to learn and we continue to progress what we have in our hands with our 2024 package. It is only the first race, only one track we have been on so far, and we will keep working hard and keep finding improvements through the season. The drivers are doing a great job both on and off track in keeping spirits high and we look forward to the next opportunity this weekend in Saudi Arabia.

 

The fast and furious Jeddah Corniche


This weekend we head to Saudi Arabia for a completely different challenge to Bahrain. Jeddah is a very fast street circuit, one which has a good flow to it and one where the drivers need full confidence in the car to attack the sweeping corners. The track is less sensitive to traction than Bahrain. Traction remains something we need to improve as quickly as possible. I know the team is looking forward to this next challenge in Saudi Arabia and seeing where we stand on this type of track.



 

Esteban Ocon:

 

Bouncing back
 

We knew that going into Bahrain with a completely new car it would be challenging, and that ultimately proved to be the case with where the two cars ended up at the finish line. The race itself was relatively uneventful from our side and we could not really do much more from where we started and the pace we had. We have to put this race behind us and try to react quickly. We know there’s no miracles in this sport and it will take time to remedy the situation. But I know the whole team is working extremely hard and are motivated to turn things around.
 

Learnings for Jeddah
 

The good thing in Bahrain is we had a clean race and it was important to gather lots of data. With the back-to-back there’s not much time between races, so we need to delve into the data and see what learnings we can already bring for Jeddah. Now that we have a full race under our belt, it’s useful to review the comparison with other teams and analyse tyre performance. It was extremely close in Qualifying last time out - less than 0.150secs from Q2 - so hopefully we can be closer to the others this weekend in Jeddah.
 

Heads up, foot down


The circuit in Jeddah is a fun track to drive. It’s very fast and very physical, and being a street track it also demands a lot of concentration for the full race distance. Also, the track surface combined with the tyre compounds usually leads to low degradation, which means the race becomes more of a sprint than a marathon. This, combined with the high-speed nature of the track, the Jeddah circuit is a really good test of the physical preparation we’ve put in over the winter. It will be interesting to see how the A524 reacts on a different layout and hopefully we fare better than in Bahrain.

 

Esteban Stats – Saudi Arabian Grand Prix


Starts in Saudi Arabia
: 3

Points in Saudi Arabia: 24

Average Points: 8

Best Grid Position: 5th (2022)

Best Finish: 4th (2021)

Best Qualifying Lap Time: 1min 28.647secs (2021)

Fastest Lap: 1min 31.797secs (2021)



Did you know?
 

Esteban is one of only six drivers to have a led a Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, doing so in the inaugural 2021 event. He narrowly missed out on a podium in that race by just 0.102secs at the finish line. After starting a red-flag restart from pole position, Esteban had a stellar race with floor damage costing him performance in a drag race to the line with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.




Pierre Gasly

 

A tough start
 

The performance and end result in Bahrain was as expected coming into the season. Our aim was to keep learning and improving and try to maximise everything we had in our hands. In the end, we did not put it all together but that would not have made much of a difference to our outcome. I had a messy Q1 with some traffic on the out lap. In the race, we were slightly unfortunate with a number of things like being caught up in some Turn 1 chaos after a good launch as well as an issue on our pit-stop, which set us back a bit. So, there is certainly more to come from us.

 

A bigger picture
 

There is a bigger picture and we are far from where we want to be as a team. We have many areas to improve – we know where these are – and I know we will find the solutions. We’re keeping our heads down, working hard with the tools that we have and that will require some patience. We are well aware of our situation and it will take some time to get better. That does not change my mindset, though. I’m entering this weekend ready to go for it to come away with the best possible result.



Eyes forward
 

We have had a couple of days to review and find some improvements ahead of this weekend. There are certainly small things we can take forwards into Jeddah. The track there is an exciting challenge. It’s very different to Bahrain and it will be interesting to see how the car behaves on a faster type of layout. It’s a place I enjoy racing. It’s high-speed, technical and I’m looking forward to being back in the car on Thursday.

 

Pierre Stats – Saudi Arabian Grand Prix


Starts in Saudi Arabia
: 3

Points in Saudi Arabia: 14

Average Points: 4.6

Best Grid Position: 6th (2021)

Best Finish: 6th (2021)

Best Qualifying Lap Time: 1min 28.125secs (2021)

Fastest Lap: 1min 32.297secs (2021)



Did you know?
 

Both Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon have a 100% point-scoring record in the three Jeddah F1 races held so far. Ferrari are the only other team on the grid this weekend to boast two drivers with such a record.




Alpine Academy

 

The Alpine Academy heads to Jeddah this weekend, with FIA Formula 2 hitting the track for Round 2 of the championship and the F1 Academy Series kicking off their 2024 season with Round 1 in Saudi Arabia.



Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix) and Kush Maini (Invicta Racing) will both return to Saudi Arabia with Formula 2 for a second year. In 2023, Victor claimed his first pole position in the category at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, securing a second podium of the season that same weekend. Kush also had a successful weekend in Saudi Arabia one year ago, securing fifth place in the Sprint Race.



Abbi Pulling (Rodin Motorsport) will kick off her 2024 season in Saudi Arabia for the first round of F1 Academy. Although the British driver has never raced in Saudi Arabia before, she had a successful test at Jeddah Corniche Circuit in February with F1 Academy and has previously visited the country back in 2022, taking part in a demonstration event in the E20 Formula 1 car in Riyadh.



Session Timings


Thursday 7th March

14:05-14;45 – F1 Academy Free Practice

12:55-13:40 – FIA Formula 2 Practice

21:30-22:00 – F1 Academy Qualifying

18;00-18:30 – FIA Formula 2 Qualifying


Friday 8th March

13:15-14:00 – F1 Academy Race 1

18:10-18:55 – FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race


Saturday 9th March

12:00-12:45 – F1 Academy Race 2

16:25-17:25 – FIA Formula 2 Feature Race