AlphaTauri shook down two of its Formula 1 cars at Imola on Wednesday as preparations for the 2020 season continued. 

The Faenza-based outfit became the latest F1 team to conduct a private test ahead of the season-opener at Austria’s Red Bull Ring in little over a week's time, as Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat returned to action. 

AlphaTauri cleverly got around F1’s heavily-restricted testing regulations by splitting its day at the former San Marino Grand Prix venue into two parts. 

Gasly and Kvyat got back up to speed in the team's 2018-spec STR13 car for an unrestricted morning run, before both drivers got behind the wheel of its 2020 challenger, the AT01, for filming purposes in the afternoon.  

Teams are limited to just two ‘promotional’ days of 100km running in current-spec machinery per year on Pirelli’s demonstration tyres. AlphaTauri has now used up both of its filming days, having also run at Misano in February prior to pre-season testing in Barcelona

Due to the tight rules surrounding testing, a number of teams including Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault have opted to complete their respective tests with cars that are at least two-years old. Such testing conditions allow for unlimited mileage. 

Unlike any of its rivals, AlphaTauri decided to combine the two permitted types of test events into one day.

AlphaTauri also used the day to practice F1's strict new safety protocols that will be implemented this season, including wearing face masks and observing social distancing guidelines where possible. 

It marked Gasly and Kvyat’s first time back in F1 machinery since winter testing concluded at the end of February at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Gasly did get the chance to have some track time in karts while training in Dubai after the planned season-opener in Australia was abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I was really happy to be back on track after such a long wait," the Frenchman said. "I had really missed that feeling you get from driving so it was incredible to be back in the STR13 and the AT01. We had a really smooth day, doing some laps in both cars.

"I woke up this morning feeling excited and happy and I will fall asleep tonight in the same mood. It was also special to drive a Formula 1 car at Imola, which is one of my favourite tracks. I think we are now ready for Austria.‬"

Imola was an ideal location for AlphaTauri given it lies just half an hour away from its Faenza factory. The Italian circuit has emerged as a potential candidate for hosting a grand prix this year as F1 looks to complete the remainder of its revised 2020 calendar.

 

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