Catalan catastrophe "Catastrophe" may be an exaggeration, but Alexandre Premat is not used to go back home after a racing week-end without a single championship point, a pole position, or a fastest lap. Still, it happened in Barcelona. "My car...
"Catastrophe" may be an exaggeration, but Alexandre Premat is not used to go back home after a racing week-end without a single championship point, a pole position, or a fastest lap. Still, it happened in Barcelona.
"My car was difficult to drive during the free practice session, especially in fast corners, that dictate good lap times here. We have tried to improve it for the qualifying session but my Dallara remained quite unstable." In Imola, Alex ended up on the podium after qualifying 17th, but he is conscious that a high position on the grid gives a crucial advantage. And not only in Monaco!
The 24-car field is no longer having a rolling start in Barcelona, but a normal one. The pitstops rules have also changed since Imola: drivers are allowed to stop just once, to change a minimum of two tyres.
"It takes approximately two more seconds to put four new tyres instead of two. We decided to start with 3-lap old tyres, and to change for new left tyres after a 25 to 30-lap run. A completely different strategy compared to Imola's because, according to Bridgestone's estimation, we could not make it to the end with an early stop." Alex focuses on tyres, a key to the Spanish race: "During the fist 25 laps, I had to struggle with huge understeering, particularly behind Negrao's car, and he finally pulled away. Then I had my pitstop. Left tyres are really going away on this circuit because of the right fast corners... And indeed, just after my pitstop, I improved my lap times by one and a half second! I got 6th fastest lap to come home 10th."
Fernando Alonso's series of victories boosted Spanish fans fever and the grandstands were filled with115.000 spectators.
"Like on Saturday, I managed to make a good start from 10th to 8th ahead of my team mate Nico Rosberg." But then, the tyre peril stroke back... "Our grooved tyres tend to grain after 3 or 4 laps, and the car begins to understeer a lot. In the third lap, battling with Fauzy, I lost 3 seconds in corner 6 because of that, and Nico was able to come back on my heels. I could recover quickly to threat Fauzy again in the following lap, but I probably moved too close to him. I lost downforce, the grip was bad due to graining tyres, so I went slightly wide. I tried to bring the car back on the track but I lost it and hit the wall."
Alex could have challenged Nico Rosberg's 4th place on the finish line. But he has learned a lot from Barcelona's race: "it is definitely not an easy job, with only 30 minutes of free practice and the qualifying session to prepare for races. Wasting time is strictly forbidden. Those with a Formula 1 and, therefore, grooved tyres experience have an advantage at the moment but little by little, the difference is decreasing. I feel ready for Monaco. "
Alex is a street race specialist, so don't miss the next event, before the most famous Formula 1 Grand Prix, on May 21st in Monaco.