AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost sees Pierre Gasly as “one of the strongest drivers in F1 nowadays”, giving him optimism for 2021.
Gasly returned to the team midway through the 2019 campaign, back when they were known as Toro Rosso, but he came back as a young driver drained of confidence after a rough spell at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen.
Since that demotion though, Gasly has gone from strength to strength, finishing P2 at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix before taking his first career F1 win at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix on AlphaTauri’s home turf.
And for 2021, Tost is looking at Gasly to be the star power of his team while helping new rookie team-mate Yuki Tsunoda to develop.
“I reckon Pierre is one of the strongest drivers in F1 nowadays. Pierre’s good technical understanding allows him to get the best out of the car,” said Tost at the launch of AlphaTauri’s 2021 challenger, the AT02.
“Pierre has been with the team for some time now so he is familiar with all procedures and with our way of working. He will be a good leader, helping Yuki in his development.
“He knows how to win a race – as he proved last year at Monza – and if we provide him with a competitive car, I expect him to be very successful this season.”
But Tost also has high hopes for Tsunoda, whom he feels can be successful from the very start of his Formula 1 career with AlphaTauri.
The Honda-backed racer has demonstrated an ability to adapt very quickly to a new category throughout his career.
“Then, we have Yuki, who finished third in the F2 championship and watching his races last year in F2 I must say he did a fantastic job, winning races and carrying out many impressive overtaking manoeuvres,” Tost added.
“Yuki has already completed some tests with us in an F1 car and I’m convinced he will have a successful start in his F1 career due to his natural speed and talent.
“The decision to go for Pierre and Yuki in 2021 was taken because Scuderia AlphaTauri’s philosophy is still to give talented young drivers from the Red Bull Junior Programme the opportunity to step up to F1 and to educate them – this is why Yuki now gets his chance.
“With Pierre on Yuki’s side we have an experienced driver who can help our Japanese rookie to develop faster, but at the same time we can aim for good results.
“I think this pair is the best possible scenario to achieve both our targets and I’m also confident this will be a successful one.”