Pierre Gasly expects to start his second season at Alpine in better shape after the progress he made last year.
“I know pretty much every single person in that room and every single people in the building behind you,” Gasly told media including RaceFans at the launch of the team’s new F1 car this week.
He arrived at the team 12 months ago from AlphaTauri (now RB). “Last year, coming into a new team, it’s a much bigger task that what it seems like from the outside,” he explained.
“You’ve just got to understand the dynamic of the team and the organisations and the processes, the way of working, the way of communicating. Everything just drains you slightly more, it takes a bit more energy out of you. You’ve got to double-check everything.”
Having had a year to get up to speed at Alpine, Gasly says he’s “in a much better place” now. “I know all of that. I don’t need to worry about any of this and really focus on myself as an athlete, as a driver, really being fully focused on the physical side of things, working with the guys and figuring out this long season. I’m feeling really in good shape and in a great place for the team.”
Gasly out-scored his team mate Esteban Ocon by four points last year and took a podium finish in the Dutch Grand Prix. “I think we definitely made a step in the second part of the year,” he reflected, “just from the the way we’re working, understanding with the technical stuff.
“That’s why I say I’m in a much better place because that time last year the team had no clue about what I need in terms of driving style, in terms of processes, in terms of communication. I really felt like we made a big step forward on that side of things.
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“We were in a great place at the end of the year. I think we’re in an even better place now 12 months later. And that’s why I’m looking forward and feeling much more confident in that second year with the team.”
However as the team’s latest design is a significant departure from last year’s, Gasly said there has been little opportunity for the drivers to give input in how to make it suit their needs better.
“It was a completely new concept so we didn’t have much impact,” he said. “With Esteban obviously there’s constant feedback about what we want, what we need in the car to go faster. But based on last year’s car, this year is a completely different concept.
“They kind of get an idea of…