|BWT Alpine F1 Team previews the ninth race weekend of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the Canadian Grand Prix.
Drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso and Chief Technical Officer, Pat Fry share their thoughts on the ninth race of the season in Montreal.
Pat Fry: "We're heading back to Montreal this weekend for the first Canadian Grand Prix in three years. It's been a regular on the Formula 1 calendar over the past couple of decades and brings some unique challenges given it's a non-permanent, hybrid track. We can expect the circuit to be a little green and dirty throughout opening Practice but, as we've seen in the past in Montreal, that will clear quite quickly with some rubber being laid down. Compared to the last race in Baku, we can expect a slightly higher downforce level for this weekend. We will come up a step on the rear wing level and we have some beam wing options to run with it to identify the optimal downforce setting. The nature of the track layout in Montreal drives you to higher downforce as there are some decent straights mixed with a range of low to medium-speed corners. Montreal has a very similar power unit sensitivity to Baku and is usually very hard on brakes, which we'll keep an eye on."
Esteban Ocon: "First of all, it is great to come back to Canada. It feels like it's been a while and I know it's one of the more popular races on the calendar. The track in Montreal has slow chicanes and fast straights, and we've shown to be fast in a straight line, so hopefully that should help us this weekend. The aim will be to have a smooth weekend, go through our programme without any issues, show our pace in Qualifying, and score some good points on Sunday. I am already looking forward to getting in the car again."
Fernando Alonso: "It was a decent result for us to finish seventh in Baku. I feel like we maximised our car and the opportunities presented to us by the retirements of other cars. We still need to better understand our car and why we are experiencing differences from Friday through to Sunday. Our car is quite good at managing the bouncing effect of this year's cars. I didn't feel it too much in Baku and we were more focused on managing tyre degradation, especially of the rear tyres. It's going to be different at each circuit, for example in Jeddah it was very smooth, and Australia as well, and nobody said anything there. It's going to be very difficult for all of the teams to agree on change."
The Alpine Academy drivers might be taking a break from their Formula 2, Formula 3 and W Series duties this weekend, but that hasn't stopped Olli Caldwell from sampling the A521 for the very first time today. Olli reflects on his first taste of Formula 1 machinery at Silverstone below:
Olli Caldwell: "It's been unbelievable and I'm quite speechless, there's nothing I could compare it to. It's everything I expected and more. There's nothing you can do to prepare for how it feels. The car is incomparable to F2, everything is more, there's more speed, downforce, braking plus there's about 50 more buttons. I've got used to working much faster in this car and then going back to F2, where obviously it's slower, I will be able to take forward what I've learned from this experience and adapt it when I'm back driving this circuit in a F2 car. I'd like to take the opportunity to thank Alpine F1 Team for allowing me this opportunity, as without them, an experience like this isn't possible. For not only being in the Academy, but to get this opportunity to drive last year's F1 car. It's been incredible."
2022 Canadian Grand Prix Factfile:
- Elevation change of 5.2m, as the track is situated on Ile Notre-Dame (an artificial island).
- Around 70% of residents speak French as their primary language at home, and it is the sole official language in province of Quebec.
- Renault-powered cars have delivered nine pole positions, six wins, 433 points and nine fastest laps from 151 starts at the Canadian Grand Prix.
- Esteban has scored points in six races out of eight so far in 2022.
- Esteban is three races away from 100 Grands Prix in Formula 1, a milestone he is on track to achieve in Austria.
- Fernando Alonso won for Renault in 2006 in Canada after a dominant weekend including pole position in qualifying. The win gave Fernando a 25-point lead en-route to his second consecutive Drivers' Championship.
- Fernando has achieved three podiums in Montreal, as well as two fastest laps.
- Having recently become the Formula 1 driver with the longest career in the sport, he is also four points away from scoring 2,000 Formula 1 World Championship points. Only Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have scored more than the Spaniard in Formula 1.