Pierre Gasly hopes AlphaTauri will have answers for its “shocking” lack of race pace in Qatar by the time Formula 1 next races in Saudi Arabia.
The Frenchman started second on the grid as a result of penalties promoting him two positions, but dropped to third off the line as Fernando Alonso overtook him. From there, Gasly slipped backwards quickly and ended up finishing outside the points despite no obvious damage or incidents, and he says AlphaTauri will need to review all aspects of its performance ahead of next weekend’s trip to Jeddah.
“It was very frustrating,” Gasly said. “Our pace was shocking, basically. We don’t really have the answer.
“We tried to stick with Fernando with the first few laps — I could barely make it. After that we tried to go for an aggressive two-stop strategy but the pace was never there; it was shocking. I tried to push as hard as I could but even with fresher tires than Fernando, I was miles away when he was on used tires.
“I don’t understand how we can be that slow during the race — we need to review everything. We changed the front wing and floor, I don’t know if that had an impact; we used the mediums in quali that we used again in the race, so they were not brand-new — I don’t know if that had an impact. I was pushing really hard on the tire but the lap time was never there.”
Gasly admits the result might have ended AlphaTauri’s chances of beating Alpine to fifth in the constructors’ championship, after Alonso finished third and Esteban Ocon fifth in Qatar.
“We had a couple of miracles on the last few weekends and we can’t do it every weekend. But definitely (in Qatar) I don’t understand how both cars can qualify like that in the top 10 and have good pace and both go backwards during the entire race and just not show any signs of speed, that’s the main thing.
“Obviously very frustrating when you see where the Alpines finished but at the end of the day they did a much better job than we did — we can just congratulate them.
“Alpine surprised us more than one way… Already their quali pace was impressive (but) their race pace was really impressive — I think (Sunday) was the most impressive performance they have done. To go from Brazil where they were, to Fernando on the podium, is just unbelievable, so I don’t know what they found. This is massive — they were in front of McLaren, in front of Ferrari. At the end of the day, we can just congratulate them.”