The Monaco GP weekend saw signs of progress for the BWT Alpine F1 Team as Pierre Gasly made Q3 and earn a point on a Sunday afternoon when there was no change from the Top 10 grid order to the flag, an unprecedented first-time feat in Formula 1.



It was a good team effort, but one unsung hero in particular played an important role in the final outcome.



Reserve driver Jack Doohan put in a Herculean effort in the Enstone simulator as a key part of the efforts to hone the set-up of the A524, working into the early hours of Saturday morning before flying back to Monaco. It paid off with an improved performance in FP3 and then Qualifying.



Jack travels with the team to all the races in his reserve role, but in Europe he is able to work at Enstone on Friday before heading to the circuits for Saturday, where he is on standby in case he has to jump into the car.



The unusual thing about the Monaco weekend was that because he lives in the Principality he was at the track on Thursday and early on Friday before heading to the UK and what was a longer session than normal.
“For all European races I will be in the simulator,” he says. “We had our first of the year in Imola. So that was the first time I was back in there and getting the feel of things again.



“Monaco was a different situation for me completely, not the one that I’m very used to, especially with the all-nighters that we’re pulling on Friday to Saturday night!



“I flew at 12 noon on Friday, Nice to Heathrow. I arrived at Enstone at 2.50pm. Our session started at 4pm, and we ran until our job list stopped.



“I was probably in the simulator for close to nine hours. I take 10-minute breaks, so there were three or so breaks over the course of that. I usually lock in for a couple hours at least at a time.”



Friday was not an easy day for the team. Esteban and Pierre were 18th and 20th in FP1 after some wastegate issues cost the latter track time, and then they were then 14th and 17th in FP2.



While the engineers crunched the numbers at the track, Jack’s job was to run laps of Monaco, initially with the set-up used on Friday, before conducting experiments with alternative directions. Via the sim team he was in continuous contact with the trackside personnel.



"During the session they have an open email,” he says. “Basically, everything's going straight into it to the engineers at the track. It's an overlook of our whole session, our whole time in the sim, which covers pros, cons, executive summaries, and more.”

Jack’s opinions on the impact of set-up changes serve as an important guide in the decision-making at the track, and thus the team has full faith in his views.



"It's very important, they need to trust me,” he says. “And that all that trust goes into making the decisions on what's working and what's not. It's good to see that they can trust me, that they have that trust, and that what I'm saying is working."



With many ideas to try Jack worked late into the night before heading back to Monaco.



“I was on the sim until about just around 2am,” he says. “And then I had a 3am transfer back to Heathrow. I flew at 6am back to Nice, and I was at the circuit in time for the 10am meeting!"



Thanks to the late finish and early flight Jack arrived having had virtually no sleep, but he still had to do a day’s work at the track.



"After doing 180 laps around Monaco it's pretty difficult to not be hardwired,” he says. “And coming straight back in I didn't have time to think of anything else. To be honest, I didn't feel too bad. But I looked forward to getting a proper night's sleep!"



The best set-up that emerged from his sim work went onto the cars for FP3. The results were soon evident, with Pierre in 11th, and the A524 now looking like a potential contender for Q3.



Pierre duly took eighth in Q1, a sensational fifth in Q2, and then 10th on the final grid. Esteban backed him up in 11th.



"Jack did a very good job in the sim,” Pierre noted after the session. “He arrived with very small eyes!
“But I told him it was very useful in some of the directions which I wanted to go with the car. And he just confirmed that sort of feeling from his test.”



Pierre converted that 10th grid spot into a point at the end of Sunday afternoon. The result paid testimony to Jack’s hard work.



“I'm dedicated to it, and I'm all for it, especially when it brings us a result like it did,” he says.



“We went from a car that was a little challenging on Friday into a car that was in Q3 on Saturday afternoon. So that was amazing, and makes it all worthwhile.



“A point and first Q3 appearance for the team was massive, especially at a circuit that was not characteristically looking in our favour."