Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly looks ahead to his final race before departing the team to join BWT Alpine F1 Team in 2023. After a disappointing finish outside the points at the Brazilian Grand Prix, he said that he is aiming for the points necessary at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to move into eighth place in the constructors standings, with AlphaTauri currently just two points behind Haas F1 Team.
“Brazil was another weekend where it just didn’t come together for us in the race. Even though I pushed as hard as I could, it was again a frustrating afternoon with no points. Now we come to the final round, which will be important as it’s our final chance to take eighth place in the Constructors’.”
Gasly said that the season closer will be an “emotional weekend” for him, as he has made meaningful relationships with everyone on the team. Ultimately, Gasly wants to achieve the best result possible for the team that has supported him since his F1 debut in 2017.
“It’s going to be a very emotional weekend of course. My last one with the team after five years spent together. It means our relationship has been much more than just a working partnership. I know all the engineers and mechanics and the people in the factory personally, having spent time together even in our private lives. It’s the last race of a long history, as I don’t think many drivers have spent five years with a team.
“There have been so many really great moments that we have shared together and what’s certain, is that whatever happens this weekend I will be trying my very best in the hope we can end with a good race and a nice result. But apart from that, I just want to enjoy the weekend as a whole and to think of all the great times we spent together over the past few years.”
With unpredictable pace between weekends, Gasly doesn’t expect to achieve as great a result as he did in Abu Dhabi last year, but will strive to finish off his final season with the team with a top ten finish.
“As for the race itself, last year I finished fifth, but this year I do not have such high expectations, because our performance has been hard to predict from one race to the next. This year, it has generally been difficult for us to fight for points places, but that is still our aim and personally I would love to end this story with Scuderia AlphaTauri by finishing in the top 10 together one last time.”
“I will be sad to see Pierre go.” – Yuki Tsunoda
Team-mate Yuki Tsunoda aims to replicate the success he found last year in Abu Dhabi at the upcoming season finale after a troublesome race in Brazil, which saw him finish last of all classified drivers.
“Sao Paulo turned out to be a difficult time for me right from the start, as I just could not find the grip. Changing the car set-up completely before the race helped a bit, even if I had to start from the pit lane. However, I still wasn’t completely happy with the car. I hope we can find a solution to feel better in the car for this final race.”
Looking back to the 2021 finale, Tsunoda closed out his rookie season with AlphaTauri with an incredible fourth place finish accompanied by Gasly in fifth, which made for a memorable result for the team.
“Last year in Abu Dhabi was a fantastic weekend for me, just brilliant. I have very happy memories of how the season ended there. It was a great end to my first year in Formula 1, qualifying eighth and then finishing fourth, just one place ahead of Pierre, so that it was a fantastic team result too.
Like Gasly, Tsunoda doesn’t see the same results as last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix coming to fruition, but hopes to achieve a successful result regardless. He said that Yas Marina Circuit is a unique track that requires a balanced set-up to maximise performance.
“I felt I was able to show what I could do and demonstrate to my team the extra confidence I had built up by the end of the year. It would be nice to be able to repeat that this time, but I am not expecting too much, as last year’s car was better than this year’s.”
“All the same, I will tackle the weekend in my usual way and see how it goes. The Yas Marina circuit can be quite tricky, and tyre degradation in the final sector can be a problem, so your set-up has to be somewhere in the middle. You cannot have a perfect set-up that suits every part of the track.”
Tsunoda thanked team-mate Gasly for being a great team-mate and mentor to him since his rookie season, and looks forward to racing together one last time before he leaves the team.
“I will be sad to see Pierre go. He has been a really good teammate both on and off the track. We became real friends away from the track and we also had a great professional relationship. I learned a lot from him at every race, especially last year. I would not have made as much progress as I have without him. So, I will say a big thank you to him and I hope we can enjoy this last race weekend together.”