Olli Caldwell was one of the few drivers to complete the majority of their run-plan during a red-flag interrupted Free Practice and the Campos Racing driver is hoping he can use that to his advantage in Qualifying.
Caldwell ended the double-Red Flagged session in sixth, directly behind his teammate and believes the team have learned their strengths and weaknesses at the Saudi Arabian street track, although he is anticipating a change of conditions ahead of Qualifying.
“The session went well for me, and I am happy with the finishing position,” said Caldwell. “We managed to get a good 95% of our original run plan completed, luckily.
“Doing laps always helps. I think we have learned the areas that we need to work on and the areas where we are strong, so that’s always good. There will be a big change between Free Practice and Quali, though, so it’s not time to slow down at all.
“We will go softer on the tyre compound, which should give the car more grip. I’ll let the team figure out the warmup procedure for the cooler temperatures, but I think after Formula 1 practice, we will see a big increase in grip and that will result in faster times.”
The Jeddah Corniche Circuit hosted Caldwell’s F2 debut at the end of 2021, where the British racer finished 18th, 12th and 16th in the three races.
Even though he is experiencing windier and dustier conditions than on his last visit, the Alpine junior believes his prior understanding of the track can help to push him on after a challenging opening round of the campaign.
“The target going forward is to keep improving,” he continued. “Last time we were here, it was extremely grippy, right from Free Practice. There wasn't actually that big a step up in times between Free Practice and Qualifying, which there usually is.
“It doesn't seem to be the same this year. It was really sandy for Free Practice, so with Formula 1 going out and putting down some rubber, we expect there to be a bigger change in grip than we experienced last year.”