Pierre Gasly admits it is “a pain in the ass” for Toro Rosso to have a Honda problem in its first race of the season at the Australian Grand Prix after such an encouraging preseason campaign.
Honda worked hard on reliability during testing and was able to prove out its new power unit by only using one engine throughout the whole of the second test. Such an approach was required by all manufacturers as drivers are limited to just three internal combustion engines, turbochargers and MGU-Hs this season, and two of the MGU-K, energy store and control electronics.
Gasly was forced to retire after just 15 laps of the race in Melbourne due to an MGU-H issue, and admits hitting trouble so early is frustrating after hopes were raised by the testing performance.
“For sure I’m not going to lie, it’s a pain in the ass to have it but that’s how it is and everyone will try to just make it as smooth as possible for the next races,” Gasly said. “I think the regulation is tough for everyone. Testing went well with no issues at all so it was looking very good, so it’s just a shame that we faced it now.
“I would rather have it on the last day of testing and then come here with no issues. For sure it’s not going to be easy, it means probably at some point we will have a penalty but I don’t really want to think about it now. I just want to think about the next race and have a good weekend.”
But with Brendon Hartley having previously said Toro Rosso’s expectations had been increased by the starting point with Honda this year, Gasly is keen to encourage the team not to let his retirement dampen that enthusiasm.
“We knew that it was the sort of situation we could face but of course after the testing we were optimistic. I think we should stay optimistic about the season because it’s not because we had one issue now that we’re going to have one every race weekend.
“But the main thing is we just need to understand exactly what caused the issue. It’s not nice for anyone in the team, for Honda, for Toro Rosso and also for us drivers so I’m sure they will try to understand and just make sure that we don’t have these sort of issues for the next races.”