Friday’s Formula 1 practice at Monza witnessed a tight race for supremacy between Carlos Sainz of Ferrari and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Even though Sergio Perez spun off the track, he remained in high spirits, calling it his “best Friday in recent memory.”
The practice sessions offered a sneak peek into who might take home the trophy for the 2023 Italian Grand Prix—a one-of-a-kind piece of art that takes its aesthetic cues from F1 car exhaust pipes. Italian artist Ruth Beraha crafted the award, drawing parallel inspiration from Typhon, a character from Greek mythology adorned with a hundred serpents. Similarly, the F1 vehicles roared and slithered through Monza’s historic parkland, which unfortunately lost around 10,000 trees due to a July thunderstorm.
The Day’s Highlights
In the first practice (FP1), Verstappen just barely outpaced Sainz by 0.046 seconds. All eyes were once again fixated on Pirelli’s Alternative Tyre Allocation (ATA) strategy. This weekend saw teams receiving only 11 sets of tires, as opposed to the usual 13, as Formula 1 explores more eco-friendly logistics. Pirelli aims to introduce a new layer of strategy by mandating the use of hard tires in Q1, mediums in Q2, and softs in Q3.
The teams were notably conservative in FP1 regarding their tire choices. Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes opted for hard tires only. Aston Martin and Haas chose mediums, while Alpine, McLaren, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, and Williams stuck with the softs.
Because of the limited tire inventory and no need to hoard soft tires for qualifying, drivers should theoretically have a balanced set of all three compounds ready for Sunday’s main event. In non-ATA races, drivers are usually limited to a smaller variety, based on track wear conditions.
Pirelli’s motorsport director, Mario Isola, noted that the experimental ATA approach needs some “polishing,” although he’s generally pleased with the insights gained. He also reassured that the reduced tire sets wouldn’t hamper the viewer experience. For context, 483 laps were completed in this year’s FP1 compared to 509 in 2022.
Verstappen began the session on top, closely followed by Sainz and Charles Leclerc, who trailed behind Perez in the initial hours.
Other Noteworthy Moments
Two significant events caught attention in FP1. First, Alfa Romeo drivers faced twin clutch issues while trying to leave the pits in their newly designed C43s. Second, many cars seemed to be skimming the asphalt as they tore down Monza’s straight roads, a scenario that Pirelli specifically needed to examine for its ATA experiment.
In FP2, Sainz dominated the time sheets, followed by Lando Norris of McLaren, who was just 0.019 seconds behind. The session had its share of drama, with Lance Stroll facing a fuel system issue that set him back on track time, and Perez spinning out but narrowly avoiding a catastrophic collision.
Teams made adjustments to address the “bottoming out” issue noticed in FP1. The issue seemed largely resolved in FP2, thanks to tweaks in ride heights.
All in all, Friday’s practice sessions delivered an intriguing foretaste of what could unfold in the 2023 Italian Grand Prix. Stay tuned, because if this is just the appetizer, the main course is bound to be a feast for the senses.
- F1 Italian GP Qualifying – How to Tune In
- F1 Italian GP Results: Carlos Sainz Leads the Pack in Practice
- Despite FP2 Spin, Perez Calls it the “Best F1 Friday in Ages”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 2023 Italian Grand Prix Practice Insights
Who shared the top spots during the opening practice sessions for the 2023 Italian Grand Prix?
Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen were the star performers in the opening two practice sessions at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix held at the Monza Circuit.
What was unique about the trophy for the 2023 Italian Grand Prix?
The winner of the 2023 Italian Grand Prix will receive a specially designed trophy inspired by the exhaust pipes of F1 cars. The trophy was commissioned by Pirelli and crafted by Italian artist Ruth Beraha.
What was Pirelli’s special experiment with the tyres during these practice sessions?
Pirelli’s experiment during these practice sessions was called the Alternative Tyre Allocation (ATA). Teams had two fewer sets of tyres available, leading to strategic variations like being restricted to running hard rubber in Q1, mediums in Q2, and softs in Q3.
Why were only a limited number of tyre sets deployed in FP1?
Teams were more frugal with their tyre sets in FP1 because of Pirelli’s ATA experiment. Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes stuck with hard tyres, while Aston Martin and Haas used mediums and other teams like Alpine, McLaren, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, and Williams used softs.
Was the reduced number of tyre sets detrimental to the level of running in the practice sessions?
No, the level of running didn’t appear to be affected by the reduced number of tyre sets. For instance, 483 laps were completed in 2023’s FP1, which is comparable to 509 laps in 2022.
What problems did the Alfa Romeo drivers face during FP1?
The Alfa Romeo drivers faced twin clutch issues as they tried to exit the pits for the first time in their re-liveried C43s.
Who had a fuel system problem during FP2?
Lance Stroll faced a fuel system problem during FP2 and had to stop his Aston Martin just past the Ascari chicane on his third lap.
Which drivers topped the charts in FP2?
Carlos Sainz led the way with a time of 1m21.355s, followed closely by Lando Norris of McLaren with a time of 1m21.374s, just 0.019s behind.
What happened to Sergio Perez during FP2?
Sergio Perez lost control and spun off into the Parabolica gravel during FP2. However, he managed to avoid major damage by holding the spin long enough to only lightly back into the barriers.
Were there any notable issues with the cars’ handling during the practice sessions?
Yes, many cars experienced bottoming out during FP1, particularly on Monza’s long straights. This problem was significantly reduced in FP2 after teams adjusted their ride heights.
More about 2023 Italian Grand Prix Practice Insights
- Official F1 Website for 2023 Italian Grand Prix
- Pirelli Motorsport’s Twitter Update on the Alternative Tyre Allocation
- Ruth Beraha’s Portfolio Featuring the 2023 Italian Grand Prix Trophy
- Monza Circuit History and Information
- Sergio Perez’s Instagram Post on his “best Friday”
- Carlos Sainz’s Performance Analysis by Motorsport.com
- Max Verstappen’s Season Highlights on Red Bull Racing Official Site
- FP1 and FP2 Full Lap Statistics
- Lance Stroll’s Statement on Fuel System Issue
- Tyre Strategy in Formula 1: An In-Depth Guide