AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly said he was impressed with the AT03 “straight out of the box” having tested out his new car for the first time in Barcelona last week.
The Italian team has been picked as a potential dark horse for the 2022 season as they look to achieve boss Franz Tost’s long-held dream of a top-five finish in the Constructors’ Championship and it seems Gasly was already optimistic about the car.
Despite having a small crash on the final day of testing, the Frenchman completed 187 laps over the three days and was pleased with the results.
“I must say I was super excited, especially with this new car, just to understand a bit more how it works and have a sort of idea how my feelings will be inside this new car,” he told Formula1.com.
“And it’s been really good, it’s been really positive straight out of the box; I felt quite confident inside the car and it kind of responded the way I wanted. Obviously there’s still a lot of things to work on, but it was a pleasing start.”
Gasly’s crash in the morning of the final day meant he was limited to just 40 laps but the 26-year-old was confident he would have plenty of more time to test before the season gets underway.
“Unfortunately, I locked up my tyres during the morning running and damaged the car, but testing is about finding the limits and we’ve still been able to gather a lot of valuable data over the three days,” he explained.
“This is of course only the first test, and we have a lot to analyse before the three more days of testing in Bahrain.”
I’m loving it – our new AT03!! pic.twitter.com/debBLI85Fk
— PIERRE GASLY 🇫🇷 (@PierreGASLY) February 14, 2022
His optimism was shared by his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda who is looking to improve on his 14th-place finish in his rookie season.
“It’s been a good three days of testing here in Barcelona, it’s been really productive, and we’ve learnt a lot about the new car,” Tsunoda said.
“I’ve been really excited to get back driving since Abu Dhabi, especially knowing that it’s a whole new car, and I’ve really enjoyed my time getting to know the AT03.
“There’s still a lot to do ahead of the next test in Bahrain. From my side, I need to make some more adaptions to my driving style to suit this new car, but overall, it’s been a really positive test.
“We’ve still got three days in Bahrain before the first race, so we need to prepare as much as possible ahead of this so that we can start the season off well.”
AlphaTauri has steadily improved since its rebrand in 2020 having earned P7 in the Constructors’ Championship in its debut season and sixth during the last campaign.
Sixth was also the highest position the team earned during its Toro Rosso days and was a feat achieved in the 2008 and 2019 season.
Gasly himself will be looking to beat his career-best of a seventh-place finish in the Drivers’ Championship.