Pierre Gasly reveals concerns of ‘false position’ as Alpine slump to P6

Michelle Foster
Pierre Gasly looking confused. Miami, May 2023.

Pierre Gasly looking confused. Miami, May 2023.

Potentially taking to the track on Friday evening for his first laps at Spa with fears FP1 could be a washout, Pierre Gasly says he’d still rather run Alpine’s upgraded floor this weekend than delay it.

Having sat fifth in the early-season Constructors’ Championship standings, Alpine have fallen to sixth in recent weeks as McLaren with their upgraded MCL60 have surged ahead.

Back-to-back podiums have given the Woking team a healthy 40-point lead over Alpine with McLaren bringing in 70 points in the last three races alone to Alpine’s three, the team not helped by back-to-back double DNFs.

Pierre Gasly: I think it’s going to make the car faster

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher and Sam Cooper

This weekend at Spa, it’s Alpine’s turn to introduce a decent-sized upgrade with the team following up their Hungarian Grand Prix front wing specification with a revised floor, one that sporting director Alan Permane billed as a “very significant step for us.

But with heavy rain forecast for Friday midday, the drivers may yet run that brand new floor in Friday evening’s qualifying for the very first time.

It’s not ideal, but Gasly says he’d rather do that than wait for a normal weekend.

“I think it’s going to make the car faster. We might not fully understand precisely all the benefits from it but we know overall there is no doubt on what is bringing to the car,” he told media including PlanetF1.com.

Asked if the situation was made complicated by there being only one Friday practice session to trial the upgrades, he replied: “It’s always the sprint, basically you’ve got one FP1, and you come into the weekend with some sort of settings and you don’t have much time to react. I will say it is the same challenge as all the other spring races.

“I’m still happier to get the floor here rather than waiting for normal we can later on this year.”

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Alpine ended 2022 in a ‘false position’

Falling to sixth in the standings with 47 points on the board, Alpine head into the final race before the summer break a long way off their early-season target of P4.

That’s where they finished last season with the team determined to match that this year, but right now P4 belongs to Ferrari with 167 points.

Conceding this season has been “quite tricky for many different reasons”, the Frenchman says “overall, we’ve been probably the most unlucky I’ve been in Formula One compared to all other seasons.

“There were a couple of missed opportunities, which cause like a sort of snowball effect and have a pretty big impact on the final results. So obviously, it doesn’t reflect the full potential of the package.

“And on the other side, we haven’t been as competitive as what we targeted at the start of the year. They finished [2022] quite strong in a false position.

“We started the year behind Aston, so in fifth place, and McLaren had a better development than we have had so far. So we dropped to six, and that’s obviously not the target for the season.

“So it would be a lie to say that we matched the expectations but we still have half a year to go and still quite a lot of stuff in the pipeline in terms of developments.

“It’s not going to turn the full season around, but I’m definitely hopeful that we can show better form in the second part of the year.”

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