Pierre Gasly does not know whether or not the Sochi Autodrom will suit the Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda team this weekend, but the Frenchman hopes to give the team a boost with a strong performance a week ahead of their engine suppliers home race in Japan.
It has been three years since Gasly last raced at the Sochi Autodrom but the Frenchman took a second place finish for DAMS in the GP2 Series Feature race in 2015, before following that up with a fifth place finish in the Sprint race the next day.
However, Gasly is hopeful that Toro Rosso can be a surprise package this weekend in Russia as he bids to secure his fifth top-ten result of 2018.
“I raced in Sochi in GP2 twice, coming second in the feature race in 2015, but it was a while ago, so it’s three years since I last drove there,” said Gasly. “Many of the corners are quite similar in nature, but the final part of the lap especially is pretty technical.
“Will the Sochi circuit suit us? That’s hard to tell as recent races have not always gone as we expected. It would be satisfying to get a good result here, not just in itself, but to give us a boost before going to Suzuka the following week for Honda’s home race.”
Team-mate Brendon Hartley has never raced in Russia before and has only experienced the Sochi Autodrom in the simulator, but the New Zealander is aiming to hit the reset button this weekend after an underwhelming weekend in Singapore that did not live up to the expectations of anyone within the Faenza-based squad.
“I’ve only ever been to Russia for a marketing event and that involved being there for less than 24 hours, so the weekend will be an interesting experience for me,” said Hartley. “Therefore, this will be another new track for me and last week I drove it in the simulator.
“It’s fair to say, our Singapore performance was not what we wanted so we will be working hard back in the factory to try and find ways of moving forward. It’s a case of hitting the re-set button, while building on the positive aspects with the aim of looking for points in Sochi.”