Formula 1 | Will the Gasly Alpine F1 be a good enough tuner?
We know why Pierre Gasly was unfortunately fired by Red Bull after just 12 Grands Prix: his pure performance was not up to par.
But what is less well known is that behind the scenes Red Bull were also frustrated by the Frenchman’s constant wandering and wavering in terms of settings, with Pierre Gasly going back and forth in the same Grand Prix weekend.
Conversely, Red Bull found Alexander Albon’s approach more convenient or efficient in terms of setup – even if not enough to keep him at the wheel for long.
However, since returning to Toro Rosso-AlphaTauri from 2019, Pierre Gasly has matured in terms of parameters, so the Alpine discovery should go better than the Red Bull discovery normally…
Gasly’s former chief track engineer at AlphaTauri, Jonathan Eddolls, confirmed that Norman has made great progress in F1 fine-tuning in recent years.
” Absolutely. We had a great example of this before, during the debriefing, he talked in great detail about every corner throughout the session. We said to ourselves: great, but what are you doing all this? »
“We worked with him during the interrogation. Now he talks for a few minutes and says, “Okay, okay, this is the big picture, these are the main things we need to focus on.” The way he explains it now… he understands the big picture better. »
“He’s always working very, very hard, looking at the GPS, looking at the telemetry, looking at the cameras on all the cars. That’s why it takes a lot of time. Now he has a better understanding of what to focus on. »
“But some evenings, on Saturday for example, when we’re not at our best, he’ll say, ‘Well, why?’ .”
But doesn’t Pierre Gasly lack a little adaptability when a single-seater doesn’t suit him in terms of driving style? Last year we sensed that he was struggling more and more against team mate Yuki Tsunoda, in the more difficult to drive AlphaTauri… Can his former chief track engineer confirm?
“2021 was probably one of his best years with us. The car was competitive, fairly easy to balance and we could generally find good settings. He was confident behind the car and was able to really get the most out of it. »
“The stability in 2022 is not the same as in 2021 and he needs that stability to drive fast. Also, I think there are times when he’s pushing so hard that…he’s trying to drive the 2022 car as a car that can move up to the fourth and fifth rows – and the car isn’t capable enough. Then, sometimes it stings a little. It still handled the same, but the car was harder to drive, harder to tune, harder to find its optimum. »
Last season, Pierre Gasly also often complained about the brakes, bending or leaning in the middle of a curve… Eddolls comments on this theme of Normand’s driving style.
“He loves the initial spin of the car going into the corner. If he’s confident at the back, he can turn the car effectively and really use the front end. If the back isn’t quite there, he thinks it’s a little harder. »
“A Verstappen can drive a car with a lot of movement behind. I have also worked with Pastor Maldonado in the past and he was a man who did not care! He spun, slid backwards, and fought against the steering wheel to catch the rear. It didn’t bother him at all. »
“Our two pilots [Gasly et Yuki Tsunoda] they are faster if they are confident that they will not go out when they attack the corner. In this respect, they are on the same level. »
Alpine more professional atmosphere?
Moving away from driving, how does Eddolls think Pierre Gasly will generally adapt to his new surroundings in the Alps? One thing seems almost certain for an engineer, the atmosphere at Enstone could be a little more relaxed!
“It will be different for him at the beginning. We are a fairly friendly team with the riders, we tend not to be too strict. I don’t know how it will be there. He was very integrated with us at AlphaTauri. »
“He was with us twice, the friendly approach of the team helped him build that confidence. Then as soon as he won the Monza race, we saw a sea change in his approach, his confidence level, his confidence, his belief, the way he led and led the team. »
“With this step, I don’t see a problem with him going to another team, because he is confident, has great leadership skills, is very motivated for all of us and he does not need this friendship. more atmosphere. I think he can go somewhere now, be his own man and lead the team. He can adapt immediately. »