Alfa Romeo report from Friday at the United States Grand Prix, round 19 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.
We can’t tell which was the last official session of a Formula One World Championship race to dip into the single digit temperatures – nor whether such an occurrence ever happened. All we know is that today was cold – really cold.
Austin has treated us to rain before – lots of rain – but our trips to Texas were usually a warm and temperate affair. T-shirt weather, effectively: nothing like the beanie hat and mittens-inducing cold spell of this week. And yet, here we are, seeing scenes we are more accustomed to in pre-season testing: mechanics hugging tyre warmers; scarves being deployed liberally; even the odd puffer jacket.
There are perfectly suitable meteorological reasons for this, of course, a logical explanation for this unexpected cold front. But these wouldn’t make a good story. It was Hallowe’en last night, after all, and a brief walk on Sixth Street in Downtown Austin would have presented an interested observer with a wide collection of ghosts, ghouls, demons and witches. Could one of them have been the instigator of this freeze?
A hex on the US Grand Prix weather is a fanciful story, of course. But if we are to live with this cold spell, let us at least imagine it to be a way more interesting kind of spell…
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 06/Ferrari)
1st practice: 13th / 1:35.854 (22 laps) / 2nd practice: 16th / 1:35.387 (34 laps)
“It wasn’t a bad start for our weekend. The cold wasn’t as bad as it had been in the last few days and in the end it is the same for everyone. We have a better feeling overall after the first two sessions. True, the laptime is not where we want it to be yet, but the real test to see where we are is tomorrow.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
1st practice: 15th / 1.36.037 (26 laps) / 2nd practice: 10th / 1:34.839 (29 laps)
“We finish the day with the tenth time and that’s not too bad. Our laps on soft tyres were ok and that gives me confidence we can be competitive. It was the first time for me here, so I took a few laps to understand the track: the surface is very bumpy and that adds a challenge, but I got in a good groove quickly. We still have some work to do tonight to make sure we have the car we need for qualifying, but we can be happy with the work we have done today. I am looking forward to tomorrow.”