Franz Tost is expecting Pierre Gasly to bounce back from his first lap elimination in the Tuscan Grand Prix in the Russian Grand Prix, with luck deserting the Frenchman when it mattered in both Qualifying and the race at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello.
Gasly was caught out during Qualifying on Saturday and was eliminated in Q1 and then got caught up in a first lap, turn three incident with Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean. Unfortunately for the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver, it was a race-ending crash.
Tost, the Team Principal of AlphaTauri, says he knows how good Gasly is and he expects the Frenchman to rebound at the Sochi Autodrom at the end of the month.
“It was a very exciting race with a lot of entertainment, which is what the fans like so they must be happy today,” said Tost. “Two red flags are very rare in Formula 1 and, unfortunately, we were involved in the first of the incidents, when Pierre was caught in a sandwich between Grosjean and Räikkönen.
“Because of this, the car was quite heavily damaged, and he wasn’t able to continue. However, Pierre was OK after the crash, and that’s the most important thing. Following the victory in Monza, luck wasn’t on Pierre’s side this weekend in Mugello, neither in qualifying nor the race. We know how good Pierre is, and I’m convinced at the next race in Russia he will start from zero and bounce back.”
Tost was happy with how the race for the other AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat materialised, with the Russian avoiding the chaos on lap one and on the safety car restart to claim his best result of the season in seventh.
“Daniil did a very good job today, he managed to avoid the chaos at the first start and ended the first lap in ninth position before the first red flag,” said Tost. “He had another good start and moved up into P7, which is where he finished the race.
“It was a very good drive from him, showing a fantastic performance. Our original strategy for Daniil was a one-stop starting on the Prime tyre, then moving to the Option but due to the red flags, we decided to change it and sent him out on the Option tyre after each restart, which helped us improve the performance of the car.
“We added a few more points to our tally and we’ll try to continue doing so in Russia.”
Gasly “would have likely moved forward in the race” in Tuscany – Jody Egginton
Jody Egginton, the Technical Director at AlphaTauri, said Gasly was unfortunate to get involved in the first lap crash that led to his retirement. He said he felt the Frenchman had qualified out of position and was expected to move forward on race day, only to end his afternoon at turn three.
On the flip side, he was happy with how Kvyat negotiated the race, avoiding any dramas of his own and managing his tyres on what was a difficult circuit to do that.
“An eventful race! Pierre was caught up in the opening lap incident, which unfortunately put him out of the race before it had a chance to get going for him,” said Egginton. “It’s a shame as, although he qualified out of position, he would have likely moved forward in the race, potentially into a points-scoring position.
“Daniil avoided the fuss at the start and then got his head down and settled into the race, focusing on managing his tyres and pushing when required, keeping himself in position and in contention for points all race. The team and driver navigated the two red flags well and were deservedly rewarded with some good points today.”