What we learned at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Published on
28 Mar 2022
Est. reading time
3 Min

There’s plenty to take away from a tough weekend in Jeddah

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix proved to be a tough weekend for the team, with both cars failing to see the chequered flag.
However, we are just two races into a fresh era of Formula One and we continue to learn new things all the time.
Here are some of our key takeaways from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Tyre management

For the first time this season, the FW44 was fitted with Pirelli’s allotted hard compound tyres in a race situation.
After pitting on Lap 13, Alex ran with the white-walled rubber until the end – and it was set to reach the finish in good condition, before the collision with Lance Stroll with three laps to go.
This was something that Dave Robson also flagged when reflecting on events, with our Head of Vehicle Performance saying: “We completed a one-stop race with Alex using the preferred hard tyre for most of the race.
“Alex did well to manage his tyres during a long stint and through several safety car periods.”

Good race speed on hard tyres

Not only did the harder compound tyre last for what would have been 75% of the Grand Prix, but Alex also had good speed on them.
“At the end of the race we were pretty quick,” Alex suggested – and the data backed this up, with the Thai driver recording his fastest tour of the circuit on Lap 46.
Of course, as fuel burns during the race, the car gets lighter and therefore quicker. But the tyre did give him enough grip to go into battle during the closing stages, rather than fall away after 30+ laps of running.
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Quick in the pits

When you see the individual drivers duelling on track, it can be easy to forget there is a big team behind them – both in the garage and at Grove.
During a race, the trackside team play a crucial role during the pit stops, something we have been particularly speedy at so far in 2022.
After recording a 2.47-second tyre change in Bahrain, the team followed that up with a 2.55-second stop in Jeddah – the fourth quickest pit stop during the race.
As we continue to explore ways to shave off time, credit must go to the crew for helping get our drivers back out on track as quickly as possible, whilst doing so as safely as possible.

Always learning

The end result was not what we wanted – but after three weeks on the road, we now return to Grove with plenty of data to analyse and pour over, ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in less than two weeks.
“We’re getting to know the car better and better, if we can build on this, we’re looking forward to the next races to improve our performance,” CEO and Team Principal Jost Capito stated post-race.
The opening races of a new era are always ones of attrition, as was shown in the closing stages of Sunday’s Grand Prix, when reliability allowed Alex to be in a fight for the final points-paying position.
Rest assured the team is working hard to close the gap and give our pair a more competitive car during the 21 remaining races this year.
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