Formula 1

AlphaTauri’s Claudio Balestri: “It’s an amazing result for us, such a fantastic team effort”

3 Mins read
Credit: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images

With the amazing spectacle of the weekend now over, the team Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda reflects on their first win since being rebranded and first win as a team since 2008.

Claudio Balestri, Chief Engineer, reflected on the win from Pierre Gasly and describes what went different between his driver and Daniil Kvyat‘s. On different strategies, Gasly was holding up Kvyat ahead of him pitting, which he did just at the right time ahead of the deployment of the safety car. With the pit lane closed, Gasly was able to cycle to near the front of the field when everyone else, including Kvyat, hit the pit lane for their stops.

“What a Race! Pierre won the Grand Prix and Daniil finished ninth. It’s an amazing result for us, such a fantastic team effort,” stated Balestri.

“On one side, we were lucky as Pierre pitted before the Safety Car, when Magnussen parked his car before the pitlane and the pit lane entry was closed for all the other cars; on the other side, after the red flag occurred due to Leclerc’s crash, we were able to make a good start and to keep all the other cars behind for 27 laps, showing great pace. 

“Daniil’s race was different. He was following Pierre in the first stint showing good pace despite being on hard tyres, but unfortunately, the Safety Car and the closed pit entry didn’t help his strategy. After the red flag in the second part of the race, he was able to recover positions and get in the points finishing in ninth. 

“This is a great day for Scuderia AlphaTauri, and now we will go to Mugello, trying to develop the car further with the clear target to get more points in the bag.” 

Franz Tost: “Strategy wise, the team did a fantastic job.”

Team Principal Franz Tost didn’t realise that when they pitted Gasly, that would be the pinnacle point in the race for them.

With majority of the grid pitting during the safety car brought out due to Kevin Magnussen’s stoppage, it left the team with the upper hand. The red flag and penalty to Lewis Hamilton secured it for them.

Tost said: “Twelve years after the great victory in Monza in 2008 with Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia AlphaTauri was able to repeat itself, again in Monza with Pierre Gasly. Strategy-wise, the team did a fantastic job in deciding to bring him in one lap before the safety car was deployed. 

“Of course, we didn’t know this at that time, but at the end this was exactly the right call because at the restart of the race he was in third and was able to overtake Stroll into Turn one. Hamilton had a stop and go penalty which elevated Pierre to the lead, and once he was in this position, he was able to defend it until the end of the race, keeping Sainz under control. I must say Pierre drove a fantastic race. Daniil also drove a very strong race, he finished in the points although, was a bit unlucky with the tyre change.

“Normally, we would have liked to have called him in later, but in the end, he still finished in the top 10. This was the best possible result and we’re extremely happy. Last but not least, a big thanks to Honda for their very powerful engine and their fantastic cooperation. Now we are switching our attention to Mugello, where we’re looking to have another strong race.” 

Toyoharu Tanabe: “It was an extra bonus to get the win at AlphaTauri’s home race”

Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1’s Technical director, thinks the win is extra special as it was the fiftieth race in their partnership with Honda.

He is proud of how the partnership has gone over the years and just thinks it is getting stronger.

“A fantastic win today for Pierre Gasly and Scuderia AlphaTauri and it’s particularly special that we can celebrate this moment together after what was the 50th race in our partnership. It was an extra bonus to get the win at AlphaTauri’s home race. Pierre’s drive was fast and consistent, and the team strategy worked perfectly, as did our PU,” said Tanabe. 

“Combined with everyone’s efforts this delivered a great result. Congratulations to Pierre especially for his first ever F1 win, but also to everyone in the team. Honda is proud of our partnership which has got stronger step by step over the two and a half years we have been together. We hope our fans around the world enjoyed this afternoon as much as we did it and we thank them for their constant support. 

“This was also the first race with the new PU mode restrictions and we have learned a lot over the three days at the track. Now we have plenty of data to prepare for the race in Mugello next week. Even though we won, it has been a tough weekend, especially as we had a PU issue in the race on Max’s car. We will look into the cause immediately and hope that we can have another strong race next week with all four cars.”

Luck was not on Daniil Kvyat’s side in Italy as he finished only ninth despite being the faster AlphaTauri driver prior to his team-mate pitting – Credit: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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