July 17th, 2020

Slippery practice in the Budapest rain

FIA Formula One Magyar Nagydíj 2020 – Practice – Friday
Weather: FP1: cloudy, drizzle in the final minutes, 17.9-19.1°C air, 24.7-26.1°C track; FP2: rainy, 16.2-16.2°C air, 20.4-19.8°C track

Three weekends of racing in a row, three weekends in which the rain – whether on Thursday, Friday or Saturday – reminded us that “hot and sunny” in summer is not a foregone conclusion. The rain threatened to fall during FP1, just appearing in the form of a drizzle with minutes to spare; but come FP2, the taps were well and truly open.

As always, it’s difficult to draw conclusions from a wet session. Temperatures drop, grip takes leave of absence and the drivers are forced to tip-toe around the soaked circuit, just trying to keep their car facing the right way. The conditions are difficult, and so is to glean any useful information from the data coming back from the track.

Just as these conditions can be difficult for the people in the cockpit and in the engineers’ office, however, they can be an opportunity. The history of F1 is littered with wet races that produced surprising results: that’s why on a weekend like this, when it is just Friday, everyone in the paddock has still a hopeful glint in the eye.

Bring on tomorrow, and qualifying – the only way to see which hopes will live into the evening, is to put them through the test of reality…

 

Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
1st practice: did not participate / 2nd practice: 9th / 1:43.471 (16 laps)

“The conditions out there weren’t easy this afternoon, so it’s quite hard to get a good amount of information. We are obviously still a bit far off from where we’d like to be, which means we will need to work hard tonight, crunch all the data and hopefully come back with a better car for tomorrow. The weather could play a part in qualifying, but we won’t know it until we’re there, in the meantime we just have to figure out the best way forward with the setup.”

 

Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
1st practice: 17th / 1:18.425 (30 laps) / 2nd practice: 11th / 1:44.411 (9 laps)

“It hasn’t been the most straightforward Friday but there is still plenty of scope to improve. I did a fair bit of running in the wet, on top of the session in the dry in the morning: hopefully this means we have enough data for our engineers to work with to find the best balance for tomorrow. The rest of the weekend could still produce surprises when it comes to the weather, so we will need to take that into account when setting up the car for qualifying: we will also need to be ready for any opportunity, to seize the moment as you never know what can happen in a wet qualifying or race.”

 

Robert Kubica (car number 88):
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN C39 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
1st practice: 19th / 1.19.150 (26 laps) / 2nd practice: did not participate

“It’s been a busy Friday in the car for me as we followed our test programme, trying different things to tackle this kind of weather. I think we did some useful work and hopefully it will reflect in a step forward in performance for tomorrow and Sunday. We continue to work on understanding how our car works in different conditions: running in the wet and on a cold track means we need to adapt to the circumstances, with the engineers relying on our feedback to make their decisions.”