“It’s challenging because the team have also never driven here before” — Doriane Pin about Miami amid topping F1 Academy’s FP1

Doriane Pin
Photo Credit: Mercedes
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As the second round of F1 Academy’s race weekend kicked off with Free Practice 1, Doriane Pin was once again the fastest driver on the track. The Mercedes Junior driver was the only one who managed to get under two minutes per lap with her impressive time of 1:59.949 — and on a track she has never raced on before.

“Honestly, I’m very happy,” Pin said after her debrief. “Happy overall because we are in front and we are fighting for the top position again after a really good weekend in Jeddah. I think we still have some work to do because I just learned the track this morning.”

And a good weekend in Jeddah she landed a double pole position in Qualifying, winning the first race and, after an unfortunate post-race penalty for crossing the line twice denying her the second win, placing P9 in Race 2.

Now, she’s looking forward to trying to make the clean sweep in Miami, though there might be some challenges to that.

“The track is challenging with some high-speed corners in Sector 1, but Sector 2 is very technical as well. So, it’s a balance in terms of set-up — we have to always find a compromise to have the best car possible to prepare for Quali tomorrow. I think we have to keep working and continue in that direction.

“It’s challenging because the team have also never driven here before,” she admitted.

Not only that, but PREMA Racing is also the only team on the F1 Academy grid who doesn’t have at least one driver in their line-up with previous experience of the Miami International Autodrome track. Neither Tina Hausmann, representing Aston Martin, nor Maya Weug, the first female driver to be part of the Scuderia Ferrari Driver Academy, hasn’t driven there before — Weug even being in the United States for the first time in her life.

“So, all the information that you get to the team is very important because the performance of the weekend will be linked to what we are saying during Free Practice,” Pin remarks. PREMA Racing needs every piece of data they can collect before Qualifying and the two races we’ll see on Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s very strange and challenging, especially when we have only two 40-minute Free Practices before Qualifying. It’s not that much driving, so we really have to be focused.”

It’s worth remembering that four of the top six drivers do have prior knowledge of the track, including the current Drivers’ Championship leader Abbi Pulling.

“I think it’s always an experience when you know the track and you know all the details, like the bumps. We discovered that this morning, so with the balance and the setup we have to make some improvements. Obviously, when you already know the track, you’re at an advantage, but we’ll do the maximum and do our job.

“It’s tighter than Jeddah! We have to keep working and even if we are in the front, we always have something to improve and to learn from, and we are on it.”

The French driver is third in the total standings between the drivers, lacking 12 points to Pulling in P1. Though, in the season’s opener in Jeddah, it seemed for almost the whole time she’s the one dominating, going for a clean sweep of both poles and wins — which she, as mentioned, missed just because of the post-race penalty. Could she do it this weekend?

“It’s still the target,” the Mercedes driver noted. “We want to continue on in that direction, respecting also the competition because everyone is improving and everyone is competitive. We obviously want to do like we did in Jeddah and we’ll do our best to make it.”