The FIA Formula 1 World Championship is approaching the fourth race of the 2022 season, once again returning to the famous Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit in Italy; and Pierre Gasly is hoping to take a step forward with Scuderia AlphaTauri in the upcoming race weekend, at a circuit he really enjoys.
“It was a little bit of a long trip to Australia just for a few days there, but it was worth it, as I scored points again,” said Gasly. “It was a weekend that finished well despite complications early on and was certainly less straightforward than the first two rounds in terms of pure speed.
“But in the end, we remained concentrated and got a result, although I was unlucky to have pitted just before the Safety Car, which cost me five places. But I put my head down and, in the end, we managed to pick up two more points. That’s not a lot but it’s important to be in the points whenever possible.”
The Frenchman still has faith in his team that they can close up to their competitors, especially after McLaren F1 Team and BWT Alpine F1 Team saw a leap in performance at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park Street Circuit.
“We know we still have work to do, we must bring more performance to the package and that’s the plan for Imola this week. Then, looking at the other teams, we saw that McLaren and Alpine were very quick so that with the three top teams out in front, we found ourselves 11th in Qualifying. It’s very close in the midfield, but we don’t need to find much performance to be able to improve.”
“It would be nice if we can make a step forward in Imola. It’s a track I really like, to start with because it’s very close to the factory, so everyone wants to do really well as we have more support from the crowd than usual, and it has a very special atmosphere.
“Apart from that, I also find the track technically very interesting with a lot of quite unique corners, some very fast ones, some atypical ones. I’m always happy to drive there, I’ve had some good Qualifying performances, particularly in 2020, when I was fourth on the grid and it would be nice if we could get our best result of the season so far this Sunday.”
“Overtaking is quite tricky, as the track is narrow, so it will be important to focus on Qualifying on Friday, before dealing with the added challenge of the Sprint Race on Saturday, which this year is another opportunity to score points.”
“This will definitely feel like a home race” – Yuki Tsunoda
Meanwhile, team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, believes it is going to be a good weekend for the team, as it not only a home race for his Italian team, but also him as he now lives in Italy himself.
“I enjoyed visiting Australia,” said the Japanese driver. “The atmosphere was very nice with its location near the sea, but on track, it was a tough weekend and we struggled more than expected, particularly on the long runs. From my side, I was quite happy with how I progressed over the week, given that it was a new track for me.
“Right from Free Practice 1, I felt confident but in the race me and the team struggled a lot. We already knew the areas we needed to improve so we have been working hard to be better in time for Imola.”
“This is going to be an interesting weekend at what is a home track for us, and we will also have the Sprint format for the first time this season. Last year, I was worried about the Sprint Qualifying with only having one practice session before Qualifying, but this season I feel much more confident, also because Imola is a track I know well as I have driven a lot of laps there. Also, I now know how to approach the Sprint weekends and hopefully it will end in points for us.”
“The track is slightly narrower than previous ones we have raced on this year, and it will be interesting to see what these new cars are like to drive there. I’d imagine that the way you can ride the kerbs will be different this year and we will see how the car behaves in FP1 and then adapt quickly for Qualifying.
“I think I am well prepared with the driving I have done there in the past and the simulator session I did last week. I’ve been living in Italy for a while now, so this will definitely feel like a home race, especially as I can stay in my own house every night, which is close to the track and nicer than being in a hotel. It will be a bit strange, but I think it will be a more comfortable arrangement allowing me to concentrate on the race.”
AlphaTauri are currently eighth in the constructors standings, and will hope to gain more points on their competitors this weekend, especially with the first Sprint race of the season offering bonus points on Saturday.