Formula 1

AlphaTauri’s Claudio Balestri: “The target was to score points and we didn’t”

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Credit: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images

Claudio Balestri says Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda did not achieve any of their targets during Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix as both Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda ended pointless at the Sochi Autodrom.

With both drivers starting outside the top ten after a poor performance in Saturday’s Qualifying session, AlphaTauri were looking forward on Sunday, but the day did not start too well for either Gasly or Tsunoda as they lost positions on lap one.

The two drivers ran a different strategy, with Gasly starting on the hard tyres before switching to the mediums and Tsunoda vice versa, but the end of race rain put paid to AlphaTauri’s chances of points as the team opted to delay Gasly’s stop while switching Tsunoda to softs rather than intermediates as they believed the rain was not going to be as hard as it was.

Balestri, the Chief Engineer of Vehicle Performance at AlphaTauri, says the team will now go away and analyse just what went wrong in Russia to prevent a repeat should the same scenario play out again in the future.

“Today the target was to score points and we didn’t,” said Balestri.  “In the first lap we immediately lost positions with both cars but for the rest of the race, when we were free of traffic, the pace of the car was quite good.

“To maximise the possibility to score points, we decided to split the strategy across the cars, with Pierre going long on the first stint with the Hards, then swapping to the Mediums. Whilst with Yuki we did the opposite, starting him on the Mediums.

“However, with just six laps to go, some light rain arrived and the track became slippery. Some cars pitted for Inters but we decided to stick with dry tyres – leaving Pierre out and calling Yuki in for Softs – as we believed the rain wouldn’t continue and we could capitalise on this opportunity.

“Unfortunately, the gamble didn’t pay off and the rain became far heavier, so we were forced to pit for Inters. We now need to go home and analyse what we could have done better in such tricky weather conditions.”

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