BWT Alpine F1 Team started preparations for the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season finale in Abu Dhabi with Friday Practice at Yas Marina where Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly and Reserve Driver Jack Doohan all took part across the two sessions.
Jack made his second appearance in the A523 of the season, following his outing in Mexico City in October, as he took over driving duties in Esteban’s car for the mandatory rookie driver participation. Jack finished Free Practice 1 in thirteenth place and, less than an hour later, took pole position in FIA Formula 2.
Esteban resumed normal duties in a curtailed Free Practice 2, which was cut short by over 30 minutes due to two red flags, the first caused by Carlos Sainz and the second by Nico Hülkenberg.
Esteban ended the session in fourteenth with 17 laps completed with Pierre in ninth after 15 laps.
In FIA Formula 2, the Alpine Academy completed a 1-2-3 in Qualifying after Jack’s pole position, Victor Martins’s second place and new recruit Kush Maini in third.
Free Practice 1
Pierre, P9, 1:26.720secs, 26 laps
Jack, P13, 1:26.865secs, 23 laps
Free Practice 2
Esteban, P14, 1:25.566secs, 17 laps
Pierre, P9, 1:25.321secs, 15 laps
Esteban Ocon: “The last Friday Practice day of the year has not started on the best terms. Unfortunately, I’ve been quite ill since Wednesday and was not feeling great coming into the paddock today. We had Jack [Doohan] in the car for Free Practice 1 where he tested various different items. He had a good session and then followed that up with pole position in Formula 2 just after so well done to him! Free Practice 2 was disrupted with two red flags and therefore a very limited number of laps. We did the best we could with our programme and I am already looking forward to having more laps in the bag tomorrow to be as ready as possible for the last Qualifying of the year. There is more to come from us.”
Pierre Gasly: “We started our Abu Dhabi weekend here at Yas Marina with an interesting day’s Practice where running was shortened due to the two red flags in Free Practice 2. Firstly, I’m glad Carlos [Sainz] is OK as it looked like a big impact. From our side, with the running we were able to do, we’ve had a fairly standard day in the car. I think we’re in a good position and now it’s important we take the time and do our work overnight to find some improvements ahead of Qualifying. I’m feeling comfortable and we will see what tomorrow brings.”
Julian Rouse, Interim Sporting Director: “It’s been a busy day here at Yas Marina where we had Reserve Driver Jack Doohan in the car for the second mandatory rookie practice outing of the season. He did a solid job in the session and then had to adapt quickly back into Formula 2 where he took a very good pole position. On that front, it was great to have an Alpine Academy 1-2-3 with Victor [Martins] and Kush [Maini] in the top three. After missing FP1 and then with the two red flags in FP2, it means Esteban is slightly on the backfoot in terms of track time. Despite feeling unwell he did a good job to be on the pace right away in FP2. Pierre had two good sessions and we will work hard overnight to analyse the data and aim to put ourselves in a good place with both cars ahead of Qualifying tomorrow afternoon.”