AlphaTauri are the first team on the 2021 grid to break curfew this season after spotting an issue with Yuki Tsuonda’s car in second practice.
The Red Bull sister team spotted a system problem relating to the Honda power unit in the closing stages of FP2 and the FIA confirmed that they worked through the night in order to resolve the issue.
Luckily for AlphaTauri, though, the breaking of the curfew has not come at the cost of a grid penalty ahead of what will be Tsunoda’s first Formula 1 race.
Each team are permitted to break curfew twice in a season without being penalised, while the PU element which needed to be fixed is not one of six components subject to penalties.
The FIA statement read: ‘Last night team personnel of the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team, who are associated with the operation of the car, were within the confines of the circuit during the nine and a half hour period which commenced at 02:30 on 27 March, twelve and a half hours before the scheduled start time of P3 and ends three hours before the scheduled start time of P3 at 12:00 on 27 March.
‘This was the first of the two individual exceptions permitted for the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team during the 2021 Formula One Championship season and therefore no action should be taken.’
AlphaTauri’s head of race engineering, Jonathan Eddolls, first made it clear that the team saw something amiss with Tsuonda’s car.
He said: “Unfortunately we saw something in the data from Yuki’s car that we didn’t feel right about, so we called him in as a precaution, but this was only a few minutes before the end of the session, so it didn’t affect our performance.”
gearing up for the first Quali Day of 2021 👊
we’re getting excited 🙌 pic.twitter.com/R2fVW7vdrD
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) March 27, 2021
The issue certainly did not dampen Tsunoda’s spirits, though, after his first official Friday run as a fully-fledged Formula 1 driver.
It’s been a great day,” Tsunoda said.
“I’ve experienced my first practice sessions in the car as a Formula 1 driver and it’s really exciting.
“I think my passion has really shone through today and I’m looking forward to showing my full potential behind the wheel tomorrow in qualifying. We’ve got great pace this weekend as a team and I’m keen to see how I perform tomorrow in my first F1 qualifying session.
“I’m still learning a lot in the car and it’s obviously only my first race weekend so I’m keen to not put too much pressure on myself but I’m looking forward to getting out on track for my first race and seeing what we can do.”
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