Pierre Gasly has said AlphaTauri’s decision to “undo a few things” in Hungary produced interesting results they will use going forward.
The Frenchman started from the pit lane having taken a new power unit without the approval of FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer having been set to start from P19 anyway after his Q1 lap time was deleted.
Speaking after the race in Hungary, the 26-year-old said it was actually the team’s decision to “undo” certain set-up choices that allowed him to perform better.
“Over the past few weeks we’ve tried a few set-up directions and with the pit-lane start we decided to undo a few things,” said Gasly, quoted by motorsport-total.com.
“We went back to things we did at the beginning of the season and found out a lot of interesting things. Performance-wise, we were better than Friday and also compared to previous weekends. So it’s interesting data.”
Gasly went on to say he was happy with his P12 finish but also admitted McLaren and Alpine, with whom AlphaTauri have competed in previous seasons, are “just too quick for us”.
“From the pit lane, I have to say I’m pretty happy to have made it to P12,” he added.
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“At the moment, McLaren and Alpine are just too quick for us and Aston Martin also seem to be picking up a bit of pace on race day. I’m drawing a positive conclusion for Sunday, even if we are still a long way from the position we’d like to be in.”
The Frenchman is 13th in the Drivers’ standings having earned only 16 points this season and is on course for his worst finish since his debut campaign when he finished 15th. Gasly said despite the teams having reached the summer break, he and AlphaTauri still did not fully understand the package.
“I think in the end I was happy to start from the back and try to understand a bit more of our package,” he said.
“At the moment we know we didn’t show the performance we should have. And it’s still not great, but at least there are some good signs with the performance.
“Compared to big teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, we know what they have built up over the last 10 years in terms of facilities, people and resources. They are more efficient.
“But at the same time I think we have very good people and also the right tools to be competitive. To be honest, I don’t have an answer to why we are struggling more in the midfield than other teams because I don’t think we are missing anything in the core of the team.”
What does the future hold for Pierre Gasly?
At 26, Gasly is approaching a crucial juncture in his F1 career – and it is a career perhaps only one other driver on the grid can relate to.
The Frenchman’s taste of life at the top with Red Bull was shorter than he would have liked and he has since been rebuilding his reputation with some impressive performances at AlphaTauri. While this season remains a mystery as to how the team are failing to make the most of the car, there is no doubt Gasly has talent but the question remains ‘what comes next?’
A return to Red Bull never looked likely, so when Sergio Perez’s contract was extended it was not surprising to see Gasly confirmed for another year at his current team. But with Sebastian Vettel’s retirement kick-starting F1’s ‘silly season’, there are a few drivers currently playing a very high-risk game of musical chairs.
One possible avenue for Gasly to explore was McLaren, but that looks unlikely now given the strong rumours that Oscar Piastri is set to get Daniel Ricciardo’s seat – but that does leave a space open at Alpine, who may want to bolster their roster with Gasly’s talent.
As a French constructor, they will no doubt be enticed by the idea of having two French drivers in their cars and Gasly would also come at a significantly cheaper cost than Ricciardo, who has been touted for a return to his former team should the McLaren rumours prove to be true.