Formula 1 | Gasly is looking at a dark year with AlphaTauri and AT03

Pierre Gasly is back for the 2022 season, his last for AlphaTauri and Red Bull, unless he returns there in a few years.

It’s not hard to call last year a disappointment for the Frenchman, as the AT03 did not live up to expectations for Year 1 under the new ground effect F1 rules.

The drop from 110 points in 2021 to only 23 in 2022 was difficult.

“It’s no surprise that I’m disappointed. I was really looking forward to this big rule change. We’ve had a great 2021. So our expectations and ambitions at AlphaTauri were high. The changes should bring the peloton closer together. year. It was probably the toughest year – or like 2018 when I joined the team and there was no performance – there. team,” he explains to Auto Motor und Sport.

“Not only was it difficult for the team to understand this new concept, but it was also difficult to manage the budget limit. It seriously affected the way we could operate and develop. It was harder than we thought anyway. We found it. 2021 harder than some of the teams that are still behind us in the year.”

When did he think this season couldn’t be good?

“I think you need about five races to get a clearer idea of ​​your performance. But with the rule changes, I knew it would be more of a development race than usual. It doesn’t matter where you start, what position you start in, but how fast you improve over the course of the season. .So at the start I wasn’t too worried, but rather hopeful and optimistic that we could accelerate our trajectory. Taking McLaren as an example, they were quite slow in Bahrain. There were problems with the brakes. Both drivers were well outside the top 10. And they still managed to turn things around. They became one of the best candidates to lead the team. I was hoping for the same for us.”

“But we had a few problems with our car. It’s a delayed development. We didn’t bring as much performance to the circuit as we wanted. There were certain problems that affected others, including the grass. The underbody flex. In that area, the car was a bit I’m trying to harden and maximize the air platform.”

“Objectively, it was very tight in the peloton. The pendulum was swinging a lot from race to race. Some teams were close to the top 10 at one point and the next time they lost in Q1. But I would say we were still among them. Who didn’t really make it. “I don’t think the car was terrible. We were still able to fight for points in some races. But others were able to bring more consistency throughout the year and show a bit more performance. That helped them score points more consistently.”

When citing the AT03’s weaknesses, Gasly cites aerodynamics first, weight second.

“I would say, and this is my personal opinion, that we lacked aerodynamic efficiency. We drove with too much drag because of the downforce the car generated. And there was just a general lack of support. It affected other areas as well.”

“The car was slipping more, the tires were getting hotter. Then you’re sliding more and you have more wear and tear from the heat. A little step forward at low power has a big impact on overall race performance. I think the car had potential.”

“But what weakened us was that we were well above the minimum weight all season long. It’s about a few tenths of a second. We haven’t been able to get rid of that excess weight. If we had it, it would have been a few tenths. At the beginning of the season, we were at least in the top eight we would be in the correct field for the race and that would affect the final position.

“But unfortunately our excess weight did not change at all during the season.”

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