On a damp first day of running at the historic Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, the team are reflecting on a difficult day at the office.
Nicholas Latifi will start tomorrow’s F1 Sprint from P18, whilst his teammate Alex Albon will begin from the back after a brake issue cut short his time in Qualifying.
“It was definitely a tricky session,” explained the Canadian, who added: “With FP1 being full wet conditions and Qualifying being mixed it was challenging but it’s a challenge for everyone.
“My issue is still not having the feeling to really push the car; I don’t always have it in full dry conditions and mixed conditions usually only make it more difficult.
“It was good though to get the opportunity to drive the FW44 in full wet conditions as I am sure we will have other wet sessions throughout the year.
“Hopefully we can move forward in the F1 Sprint tomorrow and secure a better starting position for the race on Sunday.”
Across the other side of the garage, Alex was in a reflective mood after an issue with his brakes at the high-speed Piratella ended his afternoon.
“Unfortunately, we suffered a brake system issue which ended Qualifying early for us,” he said, continuing: “These things happen, and we’ll go away and investigate tonight so we understand what went wrong and how we resolve it.
“Thankfully, tomorrow’s Sprint event should offer us some opportunities to improve our position on Sunday’s starting grid.”
It is those opportunities that Alex mentioned that are keeping the team going, and, with over 400km of racing still ahead of us on both Saturday and Sunday, there are a lot of possibilities.
Dave Robson, our Head of Vehicle Performance, spoke openly about the difficulties that the team faced on Friday before looking to put them right over the rest of the weekend, saying: “The combination of mixed conditions and the Sprint format is very tricky and today we did not rise to the occasion.
“Alex suffered from a brake issue due to an incorrect switch position when switching to the slick tyres and Nicholas struggled to find full confidence in the car in the difficult conditions, but he did well to start ahead of [Esteban] Ocon.
“Our attention now moves to preparing the cars for the Sprint and Grand Prix, which are expected to take place in quite different conditions to today.”
In Formula 2, Roy Nissany qualified in P6 with Logan Sargeant in P10 whilst in Formula 3, Zak O’Sullivan put his car in P7.