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AlphaTauri goes the distance on the second day of F1 pre-season testing

Red Bull’s sister team puts in the most laps, and rookie Nyck de Vries pushes his lap time towards the top of the board

Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix 2023 Photo by Ayman Yaqoob/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

After a “positive” first day of pre-season testing at Bahrain International Circuit ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season, AlphaTauri put in a heavy workload on the second day. Drivers Yuki Tsunoda and rookie teammate Nyck de Vries combined on Friday to complete 159 laps, the most from any team during the second day of testing.

And while pre-season lap times are always to be taken with a grain of salt, the rookie’s lap of 1:32.222 placed him with the fourth-best time of the day when it drew to a close.

“It’s been another positive day, even though we had a red flag. The session was suspended, but we still managed to get through our programme,” said de Vries after completing his 74 laps, in a statement given to the media including SBNation. “We were able to test quite a few things, so in terms of our day we are happy, and in terms of performance it is hard to say. We have one more day of testing tomorrow, so hopefully we can complete everything and put it all together for the race.”

While Tsunoda’s best lap placed him 17th out of the 17 drivers who took to the grid on Friday, he was still pleased with the session. “This morning we achieved the most laps compared to the rest of the field, so it was a good session. This also allowed us to catch up on our programme, as we fell short on the number of laps we wanted to run yesterday. Today we mainly focused on long runs where we found some limitations, but at the same time, there are positives to take from the good data we gathered for the race, which we can continue to build on tomorrow,” Tsunoda stated after the day was complete. “Overall, I’m happy with my driving and feedback to the team, which is constantly improving. I will continue to work like this, and I’m excited to start working on short runs tomorrow.”

As noted, Tsunoda completed 85 laps on the day, the fourth-most out of any driver during Friday’s two testing sessions.

Jonathan Eddolls, AlphaTauri’s Chief Racing Engineer, called the day “productive,” and set the stage for the final day of testing, when he hopes to see even more performance from the AT04:

“Overall, we had a very productive day of testing. The car was very reliable and enabled us to complete 159 laps with no major issues. Yuki was in the car in the morning and, after the usual rake running to start with, he went straight into a race simulation to begin preparations for Round One. We completed a two-stop strategy and tested the new Pirelli C1 compound as part of that, to gather important data ahead of next week. Yuki closed the morning with some set-up work, trying to improve the balance in the hot conditions. Nyck took over in the afternoon and the focus was on aero work, trying some larger set-up items which we wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to test during the time-limited Free Practice sessions. Nyck then made very good progress with a series of new tyre runs towards the end of the day, finding lap time and improving on each set, which was great to see. The testing today has highlighted some areas of the car performance that we need to dig into deeper tonight through data analysis, so we can make changes and find even more performance for the final day of testing tomorrow.”

Pre-season testing draws to a close Friday in Bahrain, with de Vries taking the morning session for AlphaTauri, while Tsunoda closes things out in the afternoon for the team. This will be Tsunoda’s first session under the lights, which will give the AlphaTauri driver a chance to mimic the conditions he will see next week, in the first Grand Prix of the 2023 F1 season.