Pierre Gasly has described the Alpine season so far as “quite a lot” after the team announced a number of high-profile departures.
The French outfit made the unusual choice of announcing that team principal Otmar Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane were to leave as part of a reshuffle, Spa their final race weekend with the team.
In Szafnauer’s place steps VP of motorsports Bruno Famin who will act as interim team boss until a successor is named, a process which Famin revealed has only just been started.
Pierre Gasly: With all these changes happening, it’s quite a lot at the minute
The decision to announce Szafnauer may not have come as a total surprise, Alpine are sixth in the Constructors’, but the timing of it was as the team made it official on the Friday of the final race before the summer break with Szafnauer still in place for the weekend in Belgium.
It was more signs of the disorganisation and chaos going on within the Alpine ranks. Having publicly criticised Szafnauer earlier this season, former CEO Laurent Rossi was moved to ‘special projects’ while chief technical officer Pat Fry was poached by Williams.
For Gasly, who himself is only seven months into his first year of the team, it has been a challenging start to life at Alpine and he described the current situation as “quite a lot.”
“For sure it’s been quite a, let’s say, busy last few weeks for the team,” he told media including PlanetF1.com after his sprint podium.
“It’s kind of tricky for me to really comment on anything. I obviously just joined at the start of the year and it’s quite a big step when you come inside a new team and need to work with new people.
“I must say from Laurent to Otmar to Alan, even Pat that I could see at the factory, they work in the best way and the best way possible. I think it was quite unfortunate that this season, at the minute, doesn’t work out as well as we expected it and we’re not making the progress that we will like
“But, for sure, with all these changes happening, it’s quite a lot at the minute. At the moment I can only thank all these guys: Laurent, Otmar, Alan and Pat for what they’ve done in the first six months and I just wish [them] the best for the future.”
A Sprint podium in the midst of the chaos
Gasly’s podium with a P3 in Saturday’s Sprint race will have come as a welcome tonic for an Alpine outfit in the spotlight and the 27-year-old believed the impact on the team was far more important that the six points and trophy he received.
“I think what’s most important for me is the impact that it has inside the team,” he said. “More than the podium itself.
“It’s a sprint race. It obviously sounds good and you get a little trophy, but you don’t really jump on the box and stand on the podium. So it’s a slightly different feeling.
“But nonetheless, we take it. We finished that sprint race in the top three. It was difficult conditions, and not easy to keep it to the end.
“I’m really, really pleased for the guys, for the mood inside the garage and everyone who’s been working since the start of the year.
“I think personally, obviously to do this in Spa, it’s been a tough season, really unlucky so far and to kind of have these turning points here in Spa with obviously the history and the incidents that happened in the past year for me. It’s definitely meaningful. So really, really happy to get it here.”