Australian Grand Prix Preview – Alpine

Australian Grand Prix Preview - Alpine

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Bruno Famin, Team Principal: It’s been a tough start to the season. And, actually, it’s been more challenging than we expected. We must keep progressing and keep bettering our understanding as to why we are lacking performance and, ultimately, how we can improve the package. Clearly, we have issues to fix quickly. It was great to have both race drivers in Enstone last week. Alongside their duties on the simulator in preparation for the next two races, both drivers spent time with the team to feedback what they are feeling at the wheel and to give direction on how to navigate the current situation. Everyone is working hard and that will undoubtedly continue in order for us to improve our position.

It’s always great to go racing in Australia. Albert Park is a good circuit, one synonymous with Formula 1 and it presents many challenges. It’s not a conventional circuit as it’s only used part time throughout the year. Many of the corners aremedium speed and it is quite technical throughout. And there’s the secondary challenge for us all with contending with jet lag with Europe, somehow compensated by the fervour of the Australian fans. That’s all part of racing in Australia and I know the team and the drivers are ready for the challenge this weekend and will give it their all for the best possible team result.

Esteban Ocon: With each race it brings a new opportunity, and we head to Australia with renewed optimism to try and take the fight to the teams around us. We know the limitations of our current package and we know we must be at the top of our game every time we go out on track. Not just from my side from behind the wheel, but also from the team’s side with strategy, pit-stops and optimising the set-up. The field this year is so tight and – as we saw at the last race in Jeddah – points are extremely valuable and can very quickly change the overall complexion of the championship.

Albert Park is a fast and fun track to drive and it presents a unique challenge on the Formula 1 calendar. The circuit has all the characteristics of a normal street track, but it uses the perimeter roads of a public park. The street track element means the walls are close in some areas and there’s very little margin for error. As the roads are used for regular traffic throughout the year, the track surface can be a bit bumpy and the speed ramps up each session as the track rubbers in. The weather in Melbourne can also be unpredictable with four seasons in one day, so we’ll need to stay alert and be ready to react.

One of the special factors when preparing to race in Australia is overcoming jetlag and limiting the time it takes your body to acclimatise to the time difference. Coming from Europe, it’s usually around 10- or 11-hours difference and it’s something I work super hard with my trainer on. It already starts in the few days running up to the flight and shifting your sleep patterns and wake-up times slightly later. Then you need a strategy for when to rest on particular flights to make sure you arrive in sync with the correct time of day. It’s not easy to manage, but the fans in Australia are amazing and always fuel us with energy!

Esteban scored his first career points in the 2017 Australian GP at Albert Park when he finished tenth.

Pierre Gasly: I’m definitely feeling ready for the next opportunity in Melbourne this weekend. It has not been the start to the season that we wanted, but, in reality, it was one we expected to be challenging and that has proven to be the case. I was in Enstone for a couple of days last week. It was good to spend time with many different people and to discuss a few things on how we can improve. I also took some time at the whole team debrief to say a few words on my feeling inside of the car. I see so much hunger and motivation in everyone at the team to improve our situation. We’ll keep chipping away and we have Australia this weekend to keep understanding more about what we have in our hands.

Albert Park is a cool venue for Formula 1. It’s always an amazing weekend with the atmosphere and the fans’ passion for motorsport. That’s what makes it very special. It’s a temporary track, which does bring different challenges. It can be quite low grip at the start of the race weekend before track conditions improve so it’s a place where you build up lap-time carefully. I’ve always enjoyed racing in Melbourne and I cannot wait for the race weekend to get started.

Australia is one the more challenging races on the calendar from a jet lag perspective. It’s not easy to get over and everyone has various strategies in place to reduce the effects of jet lag. I flew out a few days earlier than normal to visit Sydney before the race in Melbourne. Hopefully a few extra days will help out before we get into the business of the weekend. I just like to stay active, keep the energy going and then start with a fresh piece of mind when everything gets going in Melbourne. I’m feeling ready!

Pierre qualified ninth in Melbourne last year, the first time he had ever reached Q3 at this circuit.

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