Pierre Gasly’s first points of the 2022 Formula 1 season were somewhat overshadowed, as team-mate Yuki Tsunoda failed to start the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after yet more reliability problems to his AT03.
It was a strong comeback drive by Gasly, who was one of a few drivers that were massively caught out when the Safety Car appeared for Nicholas Latifi’s crash. Despite the setback, the Frenchman recovered well to eventually cross the line in eighth place, despite having intestine pain throughout the race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Tsunoda failed to even make it to the grid, after experiencing reliability issues on the way round to take his spot. Tsunoda’s weekend was ridiculed by reliability issues, the Japanese driver didn’t even take part in Qualifying after issues arose with his AT03.
Tsunoda certainly won’t be remembering this Grand Prix, which was ultimately won by Max Verstappen. Scuderia AlphaTauri Team Principal, Franz Tost, is looking forward to returning to Saudi Arabia.
“Congratulations to Oracle Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen for this fantastic victory today, it was a great battle between Max and Charles and a really enjoyable race to watch. I also would like to congratulate the organisers of this Grand Prix, there was a good atmosphere, I think the fans enjoyed the race and I’m very much looking forward to coming back here.
“It was a difficult race for us, it’s always disappointing when a car isn’t able to make it to the starting grid. We had a problem on Yuki’s car with the oil pressure, therefore we had to stop. We now have to go away and investigate what the reason for this was. As for Pierre, we started from ninth position, we struggled in the first stint and couldn’t quite get up to pace, so the Mclarens were able to overtake us.
“We were also a bit unlucky because we pitted him for the Hards just as Latifi crashed and the yellow flag came out, so we lost some positions, but then Pierre recovered very well, he could fight back and, in the end, finished in P8. This is the maximum we could achieve today. From a pace side we need to catch up, as currently we are not on the level that we expected to be at. We are now looking forward to going back to Australia, after two years of no race there.”
“We leave here with mixed emotions” – AlphaTauri’s Jody Egginton
It really was a horrid few days for Tsunoda, as mentioned by AlphaTauri Technical Director, Jody Egginton, however things weren’t plain-sailing on track for Gasly either, especially with the pain he was experiencing. Gasly also suffered reliability issues at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, resulting in retirement. AlphaTauri certainly have an issue with their AT03.
“There is not much to say about Yuki’s race as it never got started due to a driveline issue, so in this respect, beyond the frustration we all feel right now, we have a lot of analysis to conduct to ensure that this issue is understood and addressed for the next race. Pierre’s race was also not straightforward, with the timing of the safety car costing us track position, but fortunately a subsequent VSC provided an opportunity to get back on terms, allowing us to finish in eight place.
“In addition to these challenges, Pierre has also reported not feeling well in the last laps of the race, which has impacted his performance, but he dug deep and kept the Haas behind in difficult circumstances, so we are thankful for that.
“We leave here with mixed emotions; on the one hand we have scored points, but on the other hand there is for sure more to extract from the package. If we can execute a clean weekend, especially with Yuki, there are more points to be scored per race, therefore we will be working hard to deliver a better team performance in Australia.”