Pierre Gasly makes AlphaTauri prediction now that he has left for Alpine

Mark Scott
Pierre Gasly gestures during a press conference. Singapore September 2022.

Pierre Gasly gestures while talking during a press conference. Singapore September 2022.

Pierre Gasly believes AlphaTauri still have the infrastructure in place to challenge towards the sharp end of the F1 midfield even after his departure.

Gasly has now officially left the Red Bull family after a compensation package was agreed for Alpine to make Gasly the new team-mate of Esteban Ocon after two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso jumped over to Aston Martin for a new challenge.

The Frenchman’s time with the Red Bull sister team unfortunately did not finish with a fairytale ending as the AT03 turned out to be one of the most uncompetitive cars on the 2022 grid, Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda combining for just 35 points last year which was only good enough for P9 in the Constructors’ standings.

But Gasly experienced some major career milestones with AlphaTauri, a stunning win at Monza in 2020 was sandwiched in between podium finishes in Brazil the year prior and Baku in 2021, and he believes the big drop experienced in 2022 should not put his now former team off from creating more highlights in future.

They have what it takes to race in the upper midfield,” Gasly said in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport.

“Just like we did in 2021. That’s when we had the car to be fifth in the World Championship. It was Yuki [Tsunoda]’s first season in Formula 1 at the time. If it had been his second, and he had delivered the performance of 2022, I’m sure we would have finished fifth. That’s why I see the potential.

“The people are there, the structures are in place. The changes to the regulations – with the budget cap and staggered wind tunnel times – should help the midfield teams. So I see no reason why Alpha Tauri shouldn’t be fighting in the upper midfield.”

As for the pinpointing of the reasons why 2022 was such a struggle for AlphaTauri, Gasly was clear in his assessment.

“I would say, and this is my personal opinion, that we had deficits in the area of efficiency,” Gasly summarised.

“From the aerodynamics point of view. We drove with too much drag for the downforce that the car generates. And there was just a general lack of downforce. That affected other areas.

“The car slid more, the tyres heated up more. Then you slide even more, and you have more thermal-related wear. A small step in downforce has a big impact on your overall performance in the race.

“I do think the car had potential. But what also weakened us was we were very much over the minimum weight all season. We’re talking about a few tenths of a second. We didn’t manage to shed that excess weight.

“If we’d had those few tenths at the start of the season, we’d have been in the front midfield in at least the first eight races. And that would have had an impact on the final standings.”

AlphaTauri’s task a tough one in climbing midfield mountain again

The F1 2022 campaign was so disappointing for AlphaTauri that it is hard to be too excited at this stage about their prospects for F1 2023.

Gasly’s new team Alpine, McLaren and Aston Martin will all fancy their chances of being ahead of Red Bull’s sister team once again this year and AlphaTauri’s driver line-up for 2023 is not without its question marks.

Yuki Tsunoda remains an unpredictable driver and it will be interesting to see how Nyck de Vries adapts to life now that he is finally a fully-fledged Formula 1 driver for the first time at the age of 27, soon to be 28.

Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko has already warned that a shake-up could be needed at AlphaTauri in order to work towards making them a relatively successful outfit again.

Things could remain worse before they start to get better again.

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