AlphaTauri will introduce a significant upgrade at this weekend’s French Grand Prix that Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly hope will put the team into the mix for consistent points.
The team made a solid start to the season, acoring in each of the first four races, but it has only picked up points in two of the past seven, slipping to eighth in the constructors’ championship. Tsunoda admits Paul Ricard would usually be a track that doesn’t suit the team’s 2022 car, but believes the new parts being brought to France could eradicate its lower-speed issues.
“It’s a track where you need a setup that works well in mid-speed corners and it can be quite tricky because you have the high-speed straight and Signes corner, but also low- and medium-speed turns at the end of sectors 1 and 3,” Tsunoda said.
“Normally, this would highlight some weak points in our car, but we will have updates in France so hopefully that won’t be the case anymore. It’s really time we return to getting into Q3 to make it easier to score points on Sunday.
“We’ve gone for a major upgrade rather than lots of small ones. The new upgrade is focused on adding more load to the car, as we were quite weak in the medium- to high-speed corners. Hopefully, it will bring us more consistency and allow us to fight at the top of the midfield again.”
Gasly’s home race is set to drop off the calendar after this year so the Frenchman has added reason to want the upgrades to provide an immediate step forward.
“I always prefer to look ahead and I’m hoping things will get much better with the updates we will have on the car this weekend,” he said. “They are mainly on the aero side and they should deliver a real step up in performance, so I’m keen to try them out at Ricard, in the hope that they can put us back in the fight for points.
“It’s a special weekend as it’s my home race, particularly this year as there is some uncertainty over the future of the French Grand Prix. We are not sure if it stays on the calendar or not for next year, so I want to enjoy the moment and share it with all my fans, supporters and French F1 racing enthusiasts.
“In fact, we’ve organized a special Gasly grandstand at the chicane on the back straight for my fans. It’s nice to be able to do something a bit more personal and to connect with them a bit more than usual. It’s going to be a good atmosphere and I hope we can perform well enough to deliver a good result in front of the French crowd.”