What the teams said – Friday in the United States

Special Contributor

Becky Hart
AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) McLaren MCL36 Mercedes ot


Sainz looked strong from the off, topping FP1 with relative ease. Shwartzman in the sister car looked composed and did well, only leaving time out there thanks to catching traffic on his flying lap in the form of Verstappen’s Red Bull. As for Leclerc, he topped the second session as one of three drivers allowed to run the 2022 tyre compounds. Even so, he is still slightly playing catch-up, having sat out FP1.

READ MORE: ‘A few things are on the checklist’ – Ferrari drivers eye improvements despite topping both Friday practice sessions in Austin

Charles Leclerc - FP2: 1:36.810, P1

"This was probably the busiest FP2 I’ve done so far, but it was fun. We completed a lot of laps, which is good because I didn’t drive in FP1, and tested the prototype tyres for next year.

"It was a positive day overall, the feeling in the car was good from the start and I look forward to seeing what we can do tomorrow."

Robert Shwartzman - FP1: 1:38.951, P16

"My first free practice in the F1-75 felt amazing today. We completed everything we had planned for the session and the team was satisfied with the work we did. The track was challenging, bumpy and windy, which took some getting used to. As a driver you always want to push more and you want to go for the performance, but my goal today was to improve progressively without taking any risks while driving a completely new car. I am happy to have achieved that.

"I’m looking forward to driving again in Abu Dhabi for my second free practice. I think that with my knowledge of the track there and the experience gained today, I can do even better.

"Thank you to Scuderia Ferrari for their trust and this opportunity."

Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:36.857, P1; FP2: 1:38.232, P4

"It was a different Friday here in Austin. In FP1 we managed to complete our programme, but FP2 was dedicated to the Pirelli test, so it was one and a half hours of trying next year’s tyres without changing the se- up of the car. This also means tomorrow’s FP3 will be even more important than usual ahead of qualifying.

"However, overall we have been relatively competitive today so we are confident going into tomorrow."

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Robert Shwartzman of Israel and Ferrari looks on from the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Red Bull

Verstappen topped the early stages of the opening session and was looking good to repeat that feat on his second set of soft tyres. But a messy flying lap late on as he struggled with a lack of front end put paid to those chances and he had to settle for second. Perez wasn’t too far back, but there is work to do overnight to fine-tune those set-ups and make life slightly easier for both drivers.

READ MORE: Verstappen hails positive start for Red Bull at COTA as Perez eyes damage limitation in qualifying

Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:37.081, P2; FP2: 1:39.575, P7

“FP1 I think was quite good, we tried a few things with the car and it was pretty positive. We did as much as we could in FP1 as we knew we had to test the tyres in FP2. I tested the C1 tyre which probably isn’t the best for this track, it was difficult to get a proper grip on it but at least we completed the programme. Looking ahead to tomorrow, I think the long run is still questionable as we didn’t get the chance to do that in FP2. I did a track walk yesterday to see the bumps as they resurfaced parts of the track, also good for me to walk off the steaks I’ve been eating.”

Sergio Perez - FP1: 1:37.515, P5; FP2: 1:39.852, P10

“We got good information during FP1 so, hopefully tomorrow after not being able to gain as much in FP2 due to the tyre test, we will be able to get everything right and have a decent qualifying session. Given that we have taken an engine penalty we need a good quali to be able to start as far forward as possible. I believe we can go well around this circuit and have a strong pace through the weekend. I think we need to work a little on the high-speed versus the low-speed balance, we need to improve that to help degradation and everything will come together.”

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


Hamilton ran aero rakes in the early stages of FP1 as Mercedes began testing out some new upgrades. When they settled down to quick laps, both drivers looked quick, although Hamilton seemed to struggle with a malfunctioning DRS. He’ll hope that’s fixed heading into the weekend, as this is a track he tends to go well at.

Lewis Hamilton - FP1: 1:37.332, P3; FP2: 1:39.698, P8

"Everything went to plan today. I’m super grateful to everyone back at the factory for working so hard and bringing us upgrades for this weekend. It’s been an incredibly tough year for us, and the team has continuously been pushing. Everyone kept their heads down and it feels like we are progressing with the car’s performance.

"FP2 didn’t give us any real clues on our performance because of the tyre testing, but FP1 felt quite good. We will hopefully make some changes tonight and we’ll find out tomorrow, where exactly we stand - but it doesn’t feel like we’re too far off. The tyre test was a fun experiment, you don’t know what to expect when you go out there and there’s always a different balance, because the tyres are acting in different ways each time you go out.

"I’ve been trying to get into the groove and trying to feel what those differences are. In previous years, it was much more predictable - with the current car you have to build much more up to it and then you try to store your learnings."

George Russell - FP1: 1:37.802, P7; FP2: 1:40.562, P13

"Definitely a unique FP2 session with the tyre test, but good to learn and understand what tyres we will get for next year. Everyone was on slightly different compounds so let’s see what we can take away from it in terms of our learning. The upgrades we’ve brought to the car felt okay so far.

"FP1 was an odd session today, with some teams looking unexpectedly fast and some other teams that weren’t as quick as we expected them to be. With the different FP2 format we don’t know yet, what the packing order will be but so far our car is feeling quite strong, which is promising. I’d like to hope that we will be ahead of the midfield this weekend. We’re going to work as hard as possible overnight and trying to make sure we will have a fast car."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"We’ve had a pretty solid day all in all. We ran the update kit on both cars in the morning and the data from that looks in line with expectations. The balance has been tricky due to the wind, but I don’t think we’re alone struggling with that. There’s also a fair bit of tyre overheating on the long runs that will be tricky to manage on Sunday, but it seems like everyone is suffering with the same. We had the tyre test in the afternoon, which was interesting; the cooler blankets are going to change the way you approach qualifying and race strategy and the warm-up was a bit tricky, but the tyres themselves look to be a step in the right direction in terms of consistency and handling.

"The wind is set to get stronger over the next two days, which is probably going to be the biggest challenge of the weekend, but we’re off to a reasonable start and if we can find a bit of improvement on the balance, we can hopefully be in a position to fight for podiums."

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W13 leads Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Alonso was left frustrated after finding traffic in the form of Hamilton in FP2, before power sliding around for good measure as he struggled with tyre warm-up. He wasn’t the only one, with his team mate also sliding wide on occasion as he got to grips with the 2023 prototype tyres.

Esteban Ocon - FP1: 1:38.102, P11; FP2: 1:41.310, P16

“It’s nice to be back in Austin and driving at the Circuit of the Americas, a track I really enjoy. It was obviously an unusual Friday for everyone as we really only had Free Practice 1 to work on our set-up with this year’s tyres, making this a relatively short day for us. It was interesting, however, to test next year’s tyres during Free Practice 2 along with new tyre blanket temperatures and various other things that we’ll be working with in 2023. We’ll be looking at the data from both sessions closely and see what set-up items we can come up with for tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso - FP1: 1:37.713, P6; FP2: 1:41.334, P17

“It was a good Friday Practice for us today and we successfully completed our run programme. We’ll continue our analysis overnight and into tomorrow in Free Practice 3, so that we can be in the best shape for Qualifying. We also had the Pirelli tyre test this afternoon and hopefully they can take lots of data from it. It’s great to be back in front of the fans here in Austin and we are looking forward to Qualifying tomorrow.”

Ciaron Pilbeam, Chief Race Engineer

“It’s been a smooth day in Austin with two busy Practice sessions. We had to fit in more than usual into our Free Practice 1 programme as Free Practice 2 was dedicated to Pirelli prototype tyre testing. The first session ran well with Esteban using the updated floor, which worked as expected and in line with our pre-event preparations. While some of the track has been resurfaced since last year, it’s still bumpy in places and our car seemed to cope well in the conditions. We have a good base to work from for the rest of the weekend and we’ll do our usual Friday night work in preparation for tomorrow’s Qualifying where we aim to make further improvements.”

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Alpine F1 A522 Renault on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


Palou took Ricciardo’s cockpit in FP1 and enjoyed himself out there, describing the speed as insane at one point on the radio. He wasn’t too far back from Norris either in what was a good showing. Speaking of, Norris looked there or thereabouts in FP1 and likewise when testing out the prototype tyres, which bodes well. Ricciardo was allowed to run the 2022 compounds in FP2, and found himself vying with Bottas for the second spot behind Leclerc.

Daniel Ricciardo - FP2: 1:37.637, P3

“An interesting day. I didn’t drive this morning but then had a long afternoon session, so it was kind of intense. It was obviously really cool just to be back out here. I love this place and this circuit is good fun. It’s pretty different with these cars this year. There are a lot more blind spots and the cars are still pretty stiff, so even though they’ve resurfaced it’s still a bit of a handful in some places.

“I think it was a productive day, we’ll definitely make some changes tonight to try to help us out. It’s tricky with the different programme everyone had in FP2 to work out how competitive we are, but we’ll keep at it regardless. It was fun to get some laps in, and I’ll sleep well tonight and prepare for tomorrow.”

Alex Palou - FP1: 1:39.911, P17

“Awesome. I’m super-happy. The session went really well. You always think that you’re ready but you never know when you come here. Obviously there’s a bit of pressure of having a car that’s not yours, that has to go out on the track again a short time later, along with all the data we had to collect for the team. I think the Driver Development Programme work that we did before coming here was awesome because it got me ready for today – and I think I did everything I could in an hour. I felt as comfortable as I could expect. Obviously not my car, not my team environment either – but I still felt really comfortable, and I think we achieved what we wanted, so really, really happy.”

Lando Norris - FP1: 1:37.856, P9; FP2: 1:39.547, P6

“A reasonable day. This is a difficult circuit, some parts are still quite bumpy, which is a challenge in this car. Some parts of the track are smoother where they’ve resurfaced it. I think we’ve found a direction to go in with the set-up, so we’ll make some more changes overnight, as it seemed in the right direction from FP1 to FP2. FP2 we didn’t really get to try too many things because of the tyre test. Reasonable Friday and I look forward to tomorrow.”

Andrea Stella, Executive Director, Racing

“We’ve had a clean and productive first day at the Circuit of the Americas. Both cars ran without issue, which allowed us to complete our run plans on what was a busy day. We ran Alex Palou in FP1, and we’re all very impressed with his performance. He prepared really well and executed the run plan exactly as we wished, always in control of the car, delivering valuable information – well done Alex.

“He handed the car back for FP2, and Daniel was able to get through a very busy programme, first on the race tyres, and then joining Lando in completing Pirelli’s test programme. We finished that in good time and are now looking forward to the rest of the US Grand Prix weekend.”

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) McLaren MCL36 Mercedes on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Alfa Romeo

Pourchaire gave a decent account of himself in FP1 as he drove Bottas’s car for the first hour of running. Once he handed it over to the Finn, Bottas was able to extract enough pace on the normal tyre compounds to finish second in the session. As for Zhou, his weekend is set to be compromised by a grid penalty for taking a new ICE.

Valtteri Bottas - FP2: 1:37.525, P2

“Today has been a bit of a peculiar day, both because of the Pirelli tyre test and because FP2 has been my first session in the car. I was still able to do a couple of runs to set the car up in the early part of the session, before I switched to the Pirelli programme, so those lap times are not really representative: still, the overall feeling is positive. I was able to get up to speed immediately and the car didn’t feel too bad, even though we didn’t have the upgrades we’re saving for tomorrow: hopefully this means there’s still quite some margin for improvement. I think a shot at Q3 is realistic but, as always, the key to being at the top of such a close midfield will be perfect execution.”

Theo Pourchaire - FP1: 1:40.175, P18

“It’s been an amazing experience, the best hour of my life and I am so grateful to the team for the trust they’ve put in me. Discovering this track was incredible and the car is just something special: I have been through lots of emotions and I’m just so happy right now. My main target was to help the team and I was pleased to be able to do so: we had a good session, did quite a few laps and everyone was satisfied, so it’s a good start of the weekend. I tried to push a bit at the end, but my focus was mostly on understanding everything about the car, the steering wheel and so on. I would like to thank Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN for this opportunity: it’s been a very intense experience, I enjoyed every minute of it and tried to learn as much as I could from the car and the team around me.”

Zhou Guanyu - FP1: 1:38.276, P12; FP2: 1:40.664, P14

“It’s been good fun out there today: the track is one of the bumpiest I’ve driven so far, but nevertheless it felt like a nice layout, with a nice variety of different speed corners. I think I learned quite a lot, even though FP2 was a bit limited because of the tyre test: in the first practice session, I felt at ease straight away, so hopefully we can keep up this momentum ahead of qualifying tomorrow. Q2, as always, will be our minimum aim; we know we’ve done it before and we want to do it again. The battle for Q3 will likely be quite tight, and much will depend on how good one’s lap is. If everything works with the new package, then we can have a nice shot at it, even though I will have a five-place grid penalty for Sunday. It will be a bit difficult starting from behind, but of course we will do our best.”

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Alfa Romeo F1 C42 Ferrari on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Aston Martin

The Aston Martin was quick from word go in FP1, with Stroll even topping the session for a time. Nailing their set-up from the off could well stand the team in good stead for the weekend, with most of the field likely to be on the back foot thanks to the Pirelli tyre test. There were some reliability concerns in FP2 with Stroll coming out last after what looked like a lengthy rebuild of his car, but once on track he didn’t seem to have any issues.

Sebastian Vettel – FP1: 1:38.041, P10; FP2: 1:41.857, P19

“We did a lot of laps early in FP1 and perhaps we did not catch the track at its best, but I think we got the answers we need to prepare for the rest of the weekend. There are some things we will adapt on the set-up, especially to improve the balance through sector one where a tailwind is making things quite tricky. The afternoon session was dominated by the Pirelli tyre testing. It made it difficult to learn a huge amount more, but any time in the car is always useful and we tried a few things.”

Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:37.460, P4; FP2: 1:40.806, P15

“It felt pretty good out there today, but tomorrow’s practice session will probably give a better indication of where we stack up in this really close midfield. We were able to focus on both long and short runs despite the reduced running in FP1, so that was useful. But, we still have speed to find and a few things we can tweak here and there to find some performance. Everyone is in the same boat in terms of preparation this weekend due to the tyre test. On those tyres we ran this afternoon, it was difficult to generate heat quickly with the cooler tyre blankets.”

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Aston Martin AMR22 Mercedes on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


It was a solid day for AlphaTauri, with both drivers getting their heads down and working hard. There were no big moments and not too much to report, with Gasly in the top 10 in both sessions and Tsunoda not too much further back. Their true place in the pecking order won’t be revealed until qualifying now, as they get set to continue their tight fight with Haas in the constructors’.

Pierre Gasly - FP1: 1:37.810, P8; FP2: 1:39.840, P9

“On paper we expected to struggle with this track, but our performance and speed in FP1 was really good. The car has been feeling better than the last two weekends, so we hope we can make another step forward tomorrow. I don’t want to change the car too much, because the initial feeling is good, but FP3 will give us a chance to finetune specific places to extract more from the car, to allow us to hopefully fight for the top ten in Quali.”

Yuki Tsunoda - FP1: 1:38.898, P14; FP2: 1:40.178, P12

“In FP1 we made some changes to the car to look at the balance, and I felt quite comfortable with this, so it looks like we’re in quite a strong position heading into tomorrow. We’ll have to adapt quite quickly in FP3, as the second session today was really an exhibition session, rather than just a carry on from FP1. It was however a useful session to learn more about the compounds for the future, so that will be helpful moving forward. I think the details are all on the table though from FP1, so I just need to put it altogether myself tomorrow and hopefully we can look to aim for Q3.”

Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer

“As we had the Pirelli tyre test in FP2, we had to try to complete two sessions worth of setup work and race tyre understanding in FP1, so it was a busy day! We started with rakes on both cars to gather important information to improve the correlation of our tools and aid development of the AT04. After removing these, we got into our test plan. The main aim today was understanding the trade-off of ride versus aero around this track, which in recent years has been the bumpiest of the season. The extensive resurfacing has removed many of the issues, so it was less of a challenge than in the past. As well as some mechanical and aero tests, we needed to see how the tyres would perform on Sunday. It’s a high energy track and the degradation we saw today was significant, but similar across the various compounds, so we need to put the numbers together tonight and decide what the strategy looks like for Sunday. For FP2 we had the Pirelli tyre test with both of our cars - the run plans were defined by Pirelli and setup adjustments not allowed, so we simply progressed through the plan to help Pirelli define the 2023 tyres. Overall, it has been a positive day - the balance and setup were ballpark already from the first run in FP1 and the performance is in line with expectation, so we will continue with the tuning overnight with the aim to challenge for Q3 tomorrow.”

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Yuki Tsunoda of Scuderia AlphaTauri and Japan during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)


Giovinazzi had the reins of the VF-22 in the first session, but three laps in he overcooked it, losing the rear and spinning into the barriers. He did manage to limp back to the pits but the clutch was damaged and that ended his session. Fortunately, the team were able to get Magnussen out for FP2, although the Dane did complain of something loose around his pedals. As for Schumacher, he looked comfortably quick in both sessions as he continues to try and prove he is worthy of a race seat for next season.

Mick Schumacher - FP1: 1:38.922, P15; FP2: 1:39.507, P5

“It’s great to be back, we have our special livery out this weekend and driving in front of a home crowd is always nice. The performance was there, but you never know what’s happening around you and what compounds or fuel loads others are using. We’ll gladly take it today, but I don’t think that’s possible for us tomorrow. Nonetheless, we still have some work to do and hopefully we’ll qualify in the top 10, and then have a good race.”

Kevin Magnussen - FP2: 1:40.084, P11

“I think it’s about finding a good compromise with the wind firstly because there’s sector one and half of sector two which is tailwind, and the rest of the track is headwind. The balance is very different and it’s only going to get stronger tomorrow and on Sunday. It’s different with these cars as they’re so stiff. The last car I drove around here was the older generation car and they were much softer. It is a bumpy track so you feel it so much more with these cars, and it can make it snap in a couple of places. I’d say it’s actually a little more difficult to drive now.”

Antonio Giovinazzi - FP1: 1:43.063, P20

“I wasn’t pushing but there were lots of gusts of wind and unfortunately I lost the rear, which got stuck in the barriers, and the session was over. It was only my second push lap in the session, my first with DRS, so apologies to the team. It’s racing and sometimes these things happen.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“FP1 was a little bit troublesome with Antonio hitting the barriers in his first laps. We think he got caught out by some wind from the back, and then we only had one car driving out there. FP2 went pretty well with the new prototype tires from Pirelli – we now need to go through the data to see how they work – but I didn’t hear any big complaints about them. Tomorrow, we will try to have a solid session in FP3 and then get ready for qualifying.”

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Antonio Giovinazzi of Italy driving the (99) Haas F1 VF-22 Ferrari crashes during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


Sargeant had what looked like an audition for the 2023 Williams seat when he took over from Latifi in FP1, the American driver getting a dream opportunity on home soil. He did well and managed enough kilometres to pick up a point for his Super Licence. Latifi then took part in the other session to get some laps on the board, while Albon plugged away doing the donkey work and gathering some useful data.

Nicholas Latifi - FP2: 1:42.317, P20

“Probably the strangest Friday I’ve had as a Formula 1 driver. It was my first time missing FP1 and then the Pirelli tyre test in FP2. I took today as a chance to get into the rhythm of the track. It’s going to feel very different tomorrow when I’m back on this year’s tyres. We’ll be looking to start off strong in FP3 and maximise every lap.”

Logan Sargeant - FP1: 1:40.325, P19

“The main goal coming into today was to learn as much as possible and I feel like I did pick up on a lot. It was very different to what I honestly expected but in a good way. The way that the car reacts compared to what I’m used to in Formula 2 is massively different.

“Super reactive in the high-speed and so good on the brakes. A lot of potential to still pick up on and improve on, but I think it was a good start and happy with how it went. A massive thank you to Williams and Dorilton Motor Sports for their support and the opportunity today.”

Alex Albon - FP1: 1:38.422, P13; FP2: 1:41.853, P18

“The one representative session we had today went surprisingly okay being 13th on the time sheet. There’s definitely some more time to be found. It’s tricky with it being windy up here and the winds only going to get worse during the weekend which doesn’t tend to suit our car.

“We’ll do our homework tonight to see what we can change from today into tomorrow to be more productive.”

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

“It has been a busy day with Logan making his FP1 debut this afternoon and the race drivers completing a tyre test programme for Pirelli during the extended the FP2 session this evening. Logan did a good job today and was able to build on the running he did in Abu Dhabi last year and on the simulator sessions that he has done since.

“He didn’t make any mistakes today, drove well and had some good feedback for the engineers. We completed the tyre testing without any issues but as we were doing the testing blind and as we weren’t permitted to change the setup during the session, there was little relevance to the rest of this weekend.

“However, it allowed Nicholas to get some laps done having missed FP1. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow to get the cars ready for qualifying and to some extent tomorrow will be a bit like a Friday of a sprint event. The weather looks like it will stay hot and windy for the rest of the weekend so part of our task tomorrow will be to understand how best to manage the tyres in these tricky conditions.

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 21: Logan Sargeant of United States driving the (45) Williams FW44 Mercedes on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


Simone Berra: Chief Engineer

"We were finally able to get the first part of the 2023 testing programme completed following the wet weather that cancelled the planned session in Japan. The work we did in FP2 here will allow us to analyse valuable data collected on the harder compounds, just as next weekend’s FP2 session in Mexico City will give us some useful information on the softer compounds.

"It was an important day, where a different style of FP1 and FP2 will put the emphasis on FP3 tomorrow to help formulate the best strategy for the race. The windy conditions and bumpy surface also underlined today how the Circuit of the Americas remains one of the most interesting circuits for drivers and engineers."


Coming Up

Coming Up


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