Red Bull Racing’s junior team AlphaTauri has conducted a private test day at the Imola race track on Wednesday, using two different cars to get the maximum out of the limited mileage.
After Mercedes, Renault, Racing Point and Ferrari completed some runs in recent days, the rebranded AlphaTauri team has become the latest team to opt for a private test ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix. Teams have practically two options if they want to organise an unofficial test – they either use a car that is at least two years old or they use up one of their two filming days.
As AlphaTauri still had one of their filming days available, the Faenza based outfit decided to make use of that opportunity. However, as the sporting regulations force teams to use Pirelli’s special tyres designed for demonstration purposes and must adhere to a limit of 100km, AlphaTauri arranged a rather special test day in order to complete a perfect on-track preparation ahead of the season-opening race at Spielberg.
Combining the two types of test events into a single day, the team used its 2018-spec STR13 car in the morning during the Imola test. As the then Toro Rosso team used Honda power unit in 2018, there was no problem regarding the engines. Using the old car, Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat could complete an unrestricted run in the morning to shake off the rust after a long time away from the tracks.
After using its first filming day at Misano in February, AlphaTauri used up its second day in the afternoon, running Pirelli’s demonstration tyres.
Apart from providing the drivers with the opportunity to get up to speed, the team could also practice the sport’s strict new safety protocols that will be put in place at the opening rounds of the 2020 F1 season, including wearing face masks and observing social distancing guidelines where possible.
Pierre Gasly said that today felt special after such a long period without driving a Formula One car. "I was really happy to be back on track after such a long wait. I had really missed that feeling you get from driving so it was incredible to be back in the STR13 and the AT01. We had a really smooth day, doing some laps in both cars."
"I woke up this morning feeling excited and happy and I will fall asleep tonight in the same mood. It was also special to drive a Formula 1 car at Imola, which is one of my favourite tracks. I think we are now ready for Austria,” he said.