Following a difficult weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix, Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly is looking forward to bringing in new ideas and implementing them at the iconic Monaco Grand Prix.
“Barcelona was a difficult weekend for the team, I missed out on FP3 which meant we were on the backfoot for Qualifying when we tried something different that didn’t really work.
“Honestly, we didn’t have the pace all weekend and the race was one to forget, as the car was very difficult to drive after I picked up some front wing damage early on. We already have some ideas on what we can do to improve, hopefully starting this week in Monte Carlo.”
Gasly is excited to race at the historic Circuit de Monaco, which is one of his “favourites” on the calendar due to its challenging nature and the adrenaline that comes with weaving through the tight Monaco streets.
“Monaco is both historic and iconic in Formula 1. The whole world knows the Monaco Grand Prix, and photos from the early days of this race show how little this circuit has changed. It is famous for its setting and for the difficulties it presents the drivers. Maybe sometimes the race itself is not the most exciting of the year, but in terms of the degree of difficulty for the driver it is one of the most, if not the most, difficult race of the year.
“Driving right on the limit at this circuit requires maximum concentration and it’s a real challenge, one that I very much appreciate. I like the super-complicated track, which evolves a lot from one session to the next. You are on the limit, just a few millimetres from the barriers, and it gives you a real adrenaline rush.”
In spite of the circuit’s drawbacks, particularly the fact that it is extremely difficult to pass, Gasly said he would still put the driver-focused track in his top three– an event made all the more special due to the support he receives being so near to his home country of France and the atmosphere of “magic” that surrounds the race year after year.
“This year, with these cars that are now very wide, it might be nearly impossible to pass. But, from a driving point of view, it is one of my favourites, definitely in my top three best tracks. The French Grand Prix is my real home race, but naturally there is a lot of support from the fans in Monaco and there is a magic feeling around this race and the whole event.”
“Monaco is one of the great traditional circuits and you really cannot compare it to any other track.” – Yuki Tsunoda
Team-mate Yuki Tsunoda had a likewise tough time in Barcelona, as he struggled with pace throughout the strenuous race weekend. Having scored a point, he said that he wants to aim higher and be more competitive in Monaco.
“Spain was a tough weekend, when we never really got the car working the way we wanted, and the pace was just not there. In Qualifying, I think I got the most I could out of the car, but it wasn’t enough. As for the race, it was a long, hot afternoon on Sunday, and I was quite happy to score one point, but it’s not where we want to be and now, hopefully we can have a better time in Monaco.”
Tsunoda encountered a steep learning curve at his first Monaco weekend last year. He said that with this being his second time around, he will be able to use his experience to better tackle the difficult circuit and pursue his goal of being in the top ten.
“I remember that last year, I found my first Monaco weekend quite difficult, and it wasn’t ideal. I didn’t make it out of Q1 and I finished where I started in 16th place. This time, on my second visit, I will have a better idea of how to build up the speed over the sessions and keep concentration, with the goal of getting into Q3 and then scoring some points.”
Tsunoda said that the key to this weekend will be to avoid errors– which are more common and costly at the tight, winding street circuit than at most venues– and place emphasis on qualifying laps to ensure a solid grid position.
“The track is very unique, and you cannot afford to lose any running time through making mistakes, as errors are much more costly at this track. But I will not change my approach to the weekend massively compared to other races. Actually, I think the new format this year, with the event running Friday to Sunday like all the other races, should make it easier to stay concentrated and to keep the momentum going. You have to focus a lot on your single lap performance, as Qualifying and getting a good grid position are so important at this race.”
Tsunoda said that the unique event will be an exciting one, though different to “modern tracks” in its lack of on-track battles and the relative significance of qualifying.
“Monaco is one of the great traditional circuits and you really cannot compare it to any other track. It’s never boring, even if the races can sometimes seem very different to those at the modern tracks. Overtaking is difficult, but in general is a very exciting event.”