Gasly takes fourth PU, and a pit lane start

Michelle Foster
A focused Pierre Gasly at Zandvoort. Netherlands, September 2021.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, looking focused at Circuit Zandvoort. Netherlands, September 2021.

Pierre Gasly will start the Italian Grand Prix from the pit lane after Honda fitted his AlphaTauri with its fourth engine for the season.

The F1 rules state that drivers may only use three engines before penalties are incurred.

Gasly was set to start the 53-lap Italian Grand Prix from 19th place after crashing on the opening lap of the sprint qualifying.

The 2020 Italian Grand Prix winner tagged the rear of Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren, breaking his front wing in the process.

As he turned into Curva Grande, the wing became lodged underneath his AT02, sending him off the track, through the gravel and into the barrier.

As such AlphaTauri and Honda opted to change his PU, putting him onto his fourth for this season.

Instead of starting P19, he’ll now be starting from the pit lane.

A Honda statement read: “After his accident yesterday and taking into consideration Pierre’s starting position, along with the team we have decided to introduce a whole new PU into the pool that he will run today.”

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Following the sprint qualifying, Gasly spoke of his concerns that he won’t be able to make up places on Sunday given the lack of overtaking in the 18-lap sprint.

Asked if points were still his target, he said: “That is the target. P14, 11 is the same thing, you will go home with zero points so we will do everything we can to at least score a point tomorrow.

“Obviously, watching the race from outside, which is not nice but can give you a little idea, unfortunately, I have not seen one single overtake.

“I will watch the race again to try and see what happened but it seemed really difficult to overtake so we need to understand why and try to improve that.

“Probably will start from the pit lane. It is a much longer race and we start next to the winner of the day so we will try to come back again.”

But while Gasly’s pit lane start isn’t a major consequence for the Frenchman, the same cannot be said of Valtteri Bottas’ engine penalty.

P1 in Saturday’s sprint qualifying, he secured pole position knowing that he’d been starting at the back of grid because of an engine penalty.