Pierre Gasly has given an honest assessment of what was a disappointing final season for him with AlphaTauri before joining Alpine.
The Frenchman’s move to a works team representing his home country, confirmed in early October, was understandable in any case, but even more so after how things had turned out for AlphaTauri in 2022.
The previous year, Gasly had been a regular on the front three rows of the grid with some excellent qualifying performances, he enjoyed a podium finish when third in Azerbaijan and scored a career-high 110 points across the campaign.
But this time around, he contributed a lowly 23 – his poorest return in any of his five full F1 seasons – as the Italy-based team slipped from sixth to ninth in the Constructors’ Championship.
For much of the campaign, Gasly gave the impression of being a driver desperately in need of a fresh start – which Alpine were able to offer for 2023 due to Fernando Alonso’s departure, Red Bull willing to release him from his contract.
“I won’t lie, I had a much more enjoyable year in 2021 than 2022,” said Gasly, quoted by Motorsport.com. “Just the fact I didn’t have the competitiveness and speed to really show a lot.
“Of course, people are looking at what’s happening at the top. I think some will say they don’t pay attention after second place, I would say maybe after eighth place, then you don’t really see what’s happening at the back.”
Too often in 2022 Gasly found himself more towards the rear of the field than the front, but that is a scenario he hopes will not occur next season with Alpine.
The 26-year-old has already started to familiarise himself with his new team at the post-season test in Abu Dhabi, Alpine looking to consolidate on the fourth place they secured in the finale.
“I think this team is a fresh start for me and a chance to do something amazing together,” said Gasly, who won the 2020 Italian Grand Prix. “They have had their best season so far since coming back. I think they are on a good path and getting better every season.
“After what they have shown all season, I’m definitely confident what we can achieve together next year will be very impressive. I’m ready for that.”
But Gasly will also be aware that the last time he stepped up to a team expected to be fighting closer to the front, at Red Bull in 2019, it went badly for him – he was dropped back to Toro Rosso, as AlphaTauri were then named, after half a season when little went right for him.
“You can’t underestimate the work and the task when you change teams and start working with a completely new team, a new environment, a new car and new drivers,” he explained.
“Obviously you have to find the right approach to make it work as quickly as possible. But from what I’ve seen, I’m very confident the potential is there for fantastic results.”