Scuderia Alpha Tauri’s technical director Jonathan Eddolls says it is great to be back on track as pre-season testing got underway on Friday at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain, two weeks ahead of the start of the 2021 Formula One season.

Speaking following the test he said:

It’s great to be back on track in Bahrain and running the AT02 for the first proper test. Pierre drove for us this morning and we completed some aero mapping and runs first thing, before getting into some longer running further into the session. The car performed very well in the morning, we completed our full run-plan and had no issues. We’re obviously quite restricted with running this test, having only three days, so we went through our test plan and covered some good ground. We then swapped to Yuki in the afternoon and unfortunately it hasn’t been such a smooth afternoon, for several reasons. Firstly, the sand both on-track and in the air, made it extremely difficult – so the track was quite a lot slower to begin with. Unfortunately, we then spotted some issues in the fuel system, which were impacting most of his laps and meant we couldn’t give him any consistent runs. The session was quite compromised for him, which is a shame, but we stopped running before the chequered flag, so we could investigate the problem and fix it ahead of his running first thing tomorrow.

Yuki Tsunado who will make his race debut in two weeks time completed his first afternoon in the new car and set the ninth fastest time of 01:32.727s and speaking following the action he said:

“It was great to experience the new car properly for the afternoon session and to complete my first official Formula 1 pre-season test as a Scuderia AlphaTauri driver. Obviously, at this stage mileage and data collection is key for me – as a rookie I want to gain the most out of the only three-days of testing available and learn a lot ahead of the first race here in Bahrain. It’s been quite a difficult afternoon session unfortunately. The weather has been bad, with the sand and wind making the conditions tricky to drive in, and then the team discovered an issue with the fuel system in my car. This meant that I had to box ahead of the end of the session – they’re investigating it now though and I’ll be ready to head back out on track when the lights turn green for the morning session tomorrow.”

Pierre Gasly ended the day having completed 73 laps and speaking following the action he commented saying:

“Everything felt really good with the car this morning, we had a positive start to testing and were able to do a lot of laps – our main goal for today. Running for just three days, it’s important that we make the most of this time on track. We managed to complete our full testing programme for the first day and I felt very comfortable in the car. Of course, there are areas that we need to work on and improve but that’s to be expected on the first day. The conditions today are quite tough to drive in – F1 cars don’t perform well with this level of wind – which isn’t great but it’s good to understand how the car works in these situations, especially as the first race of the season will be at this circuit.”

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