Racking up an impressive 166 laps in Imola, Grégoire Saucy was put through his paces during the two days of testing at the Italian circuit. Working diligently to extract every ounce of performance possible, the ART Grand Prix driver enters the break brimming with confidence.
One of only five drivers to earn a top 10 time during both days of running, the Swiss racer and his teammates Kaylen Frederick and Nikola Tsolov were kept busy get their mileage on the board. Between them, the trio put down a combined 992 laps across the sessions in Barcelona and Imola and whilst the feat was physically demanding, Saucy is already seeing the benefits.
“The two days of testing at Imola were really interesting. We did quite a lot of laps, mainly on the second day, but it’s not an easy track so it was good to do two days of tests there. I am really confident for the next few races.
“We started with the Qualifying mode on the first day and one race sim afterwards. Then, we did Qualifying runs on the second morning and then quite a lot of race sims at the end of Day 2. The second day was a really, really big day for me because we drove a lot at ART. We did more or less the same laps as Kaylen and Nikola, but it was really hard physically.
He added: “We tested quite a lot of things, both in Qualifying mode and race sims because they’ve changed the medium compound from last year and we saw that the team was struggling with the deg. We tried different things with the team to work on the setup and it was quite good, at the end we were quite happy with that. We can still improve on it, but I’m really happy with the work that we did.
“Now, we have a bit of a small break and then it will be back to work a lot physically, mentally and with the team to prepare for the next round.”
Enjoying a positive start to his sophomore campaign, Saucy holds the honours as the only driver to have scored points in each of the first four races. Currently sitting second in the Standings on 38 points, he’s pleased with his progress, but isn’t resting on his laurels.
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Setting his sights on closing Trident driver Gabriel Bortoleto’s 20-point advantage out front, Saucy recognises that consistent points finishes are vital and with eight rounds still to play for, there’s plenty of improvements to be made.
“It’s good to be at the top end of the Championship after two rounds, but it’s still long to go. Bahrain was not what I expected, I was hoping for a podium in the Feature Race, but I struggled a bit with the race pace.
“Melbourne was really good from the start; I was always towards the top and I finished P2 behind Gabriel (Bortoleto). We still need to do some work to beat him because he’s quite fast and quite strong this year, but we will work hard. The Championship is long, so we have time to work on this and tor try everything to beat him.”
Turning his attention towards the triple header next month, Saucy’s excited to get stuck in on three very different circuits. Fortunately for him, his prior experience should be very beneficial – particularly as Formula 3 prepares to make its debut on the ruthless streets of Monaco.
Whilst he’ll be content to continue his run of top 10 finishes and podiums, the Swiss says he’s hungry for more – to bring home a maiden victory sooner rather than later.
“We’ll have three races in a row, so I will be working hard to prepare for those races. Imola is a really nice track, as is Monaco. I think there will be interesting with the traffic in Qualifying and I hope there won’t be, but if there’s a Red Flag because it will be only 15 minutes of track time. It’s really, really tricky, it’ll be the same for everyone, but it will be an interesting weekend.
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“Barcelona - we did two days of tests there, so I’m quite confident. I’m feeling really confident to start the three races in a row and they’re three tracks I know. Imola and Barcelona I know quite well, and Monaco I’ve already driven on in FRECA.
“I think we need to stay with the same goal – to take points in every race and of course, to fight for more. Now after my P2 finish in Melbourne, I know my goal is to win and to win at the end of the year. In Qualifying, I’ve finished P3 in Bahrain and P2 in Melbourne, so the goal is to stay in the top three to top five and to fight for the podium and the win.”