It was not a good day for Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda on Saturday, with neither Pierre Gasly nor Daniil Kvyat being able to make it through to the top ten shootout in Qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix.
The team had shown good pace at Intercity Istanbul Park on Friday, but with the track being wet across the Qualifying session, both drivers found the going tough, with both experiencing spins.
Gasly was able to advance into Q2 but the Frenchman, a winner in Formula 1 this year in Italy, could only qualify fifteenth, the slowest of everyone in Q2 as he struggled to get the car to work in the tricky conditions.
“It was a very disappointing day for us,” said Gasly. “The conditions were quite unusual. We’re usually pretty fast in the wet but today we couldn’t get the tyres to work. I was just sliding everywhere and wasn’t able to switch them on.
“There are a lot of things to review and understand for the race if we have similar conditions like we had today. We’ll have to work hard tomorrow to do better and recover positions to try and score some points.”
Kvyat found the conditions difficult as well, with the Russian critical of himself after losing the opportunity to improve and advance into Q2 by spinning at the start of his final flying lap.
This meant Kvyat was left on the side-lines as other drivers improved their times, with the twenty-six-year-old set to start down in seventeenth on Sunday.
“It wasn’t a good day for us today and I’m disappointed with myself,” said Kvyat. “I made a mistake on my last lap and spun in the wrong moment, which ruined my Qualifying.
“It was always difficult to stay on track, I kept pushing anyway and the rear couldn’t handle it. Getting the tyres to work hasn’t been our strength today, but on the other hand, it’s not normal to drive in conditions like these, they’re very extreme and unusual, and the grip feels insanely low.
“However, it’s the same for everyone and I didn’t drive as well as I wanted to. I don’t know what to expect tomorrow, the conditions are tricky in both the wet and the dry, so anything can happen in the race. We’ll keep pushing.”
“There’s a lot for us to look at and learn for the future” – Jonathan Eddolls
Jonathan Eddolls, the Chief Race Engineer at AlphaTauri, feels the grid positions for Gasly and Kvyat does not show a true representation of the pace of the AT01, and he hopes they can make progress on race day in Turkey.
Eddolls said the track conditions were ‘extremely challenging’, and both AlphaTauri drivers struggled to get the best out of their tyres, even with the changes made by the team in-between final practice on Saturday morning and the Qualifying session at Istanbul Park.
“The track conditions yesterday in the dry were tricky, and they were not easier today in the rain for both FP3 and Qualifying where the track was like an ice rink,” said Eddolls. “The drivers were finding it extremely challenging just to keep the car on the track, let alone set competitive lap times.
“We struggled with tyre temperatures in FP3, so we didn’t set a good lap in that session. We made some changes to the car to try and address that going into Qualifying and we made a step, but clearly, others were able to manage the tyre temperatures in Qualifying better than we were able to today.
“It’s a disappointing result and not a true representation of the performance of our car, as the session was dominated by the tyres and getting them in the right working range. There’s a lot for us to look at and learn for the future, and maybe even tomorrow if it’s wet.
“Hopefully, it will be dry in the race so we can put today behind us and have a strong result.”