Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, is excited to begin the season’s European-leg with this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, coming off a bittersweet result at the Miami Grand Prix. The team had achieved their best Qualifying result of the season at the brand new venue, but both cars failed to score any points, with Gasly unable to finish the race due to damage related to incidents with Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris.
“I am looking forward to starting the European part of the season and even if the result in Miami was not what we were looking for, there were some positives to take away from that weekend. We got both cars into Q3, 7th and 9th, making it the best Qualifying so far this season.
“The race was difficult because, from very early on, I had a big hole in the floor, losing quite a bit of downforce, but even so I could fight for seventh or eighth place with the Alpines, which was encouraging. It was going quite well in fact, until my contact with Fernando. That ruined my race, and it was very disappointing, as we’d had a solid weekend up to that point.”
Gasly believed that the performance put on by the team that weekend was worthy of points, if not for the unlucky circumstances he faced. With several positive takeaways, Gasly is confident in AlphaTauri’s ability to bring home points in Barcelona and the races ahead.
“We deserved some points, so it was a shame, but the performance is clearly there and there’s no reason why we can’t have some good results in the upcoming races.”
Gasly said that the Spanish Grand Prix should provide insight into where each team stands competitively, particularly with regards to the incredibly tight midfield that makes for great variability in results from session to session.
“Now we come to Barcelona, the sixth race of the season, where I finished ninth in 2020 and 10th last year. It’s always an important weekend, because you get a clear picture of the performance of the various cars and where each team is in relation to the others. We should get an idea of where everyone is, especially in the midfield, which is currently very tight: sometimes we’re a bit nearer the front and then in the space of just two tenths of a second, you can drop right back.”
As far as the racing goes, Gasly said that overtaking should remain difficult with the new generation of cars just as it was in the past, due to “the nature of the track”. Since he’s not confident that overtaking opportunities will increase, he believes that qualifying will be key to a good result this weekend.
“We know it’s difficult to overtake at this circuit and it will remain the same, even with these new cars, because of the nature of the track. But it’s hard to predict, so let’s wait and see what happens. For us it will be important to qualify well, near the front because I’d be surprised if there was ten times more overtaking than before! As a team, we just have to keep working the way we have been up until now and I’m sure that will pay off in terms of results.”
“I am not expecting it to be easy” – Yuki Tsunoda
Team-mate Yuki Tsunoda comes off the “mixed weekend” in Miami looking to build on the progress he made in qualifying performance, and work towards points results in races moving forward, including the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix.
“Miami was a mixed weekend. At first there was a big gap to my team-mate in free practice, but I managed to progress and that meant I was able to get through to Q3, which was a good result for me and the team, even if it was a bit unexpected. In the race, I lost a lot of positions in the early part and we couldn’t put it together, but overall there were some positives from the weekend.”
A track that is particularly familiar to him, Tsunoda said that the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will be a “real test of the car”. He said that the grid will be tight and especially competitive in the mid-field, which will make a points finish all the more difficult. He is, however, confident that with continued development, AlphaTauri will be able to improve consistency-wise and push for the results they are looking for in Barcelona.
“I was back home in Italy for my birthday and I had an enjoyable day in Milan. Now we will spend some time in Europe, starting with the Barcelona track where we began our winter testing at the end of February. Of course, conditions will be very different and much warmer this time. Even without that, it is one of the European tracks I know best and in 2020, I finished fourth there in both the Sprint and the Feature Formula 2 races.
“It is a very technical track with a wide range of different types of corners and speeds, high, medium and low. It is a real test of the car. All the teams know the track very well, so I expect it will be very tight in the midfield where we are racing and I am confident we can perform quite well this weekend. However, I think we still need more car development before we can race really consistently every weekend. I think we can make progress in Barcelona, hopefully have a good result, ending in the points, but I am not expecting it to be easy.”