Formula 1

Alpine F1’s Pierre Gasly Navigates Performance Challenges and Bold Strategy at Italian GP

Driver's Dissatisfaction with A523 Setup Spurs Race Strategy Gamble as Alpine Faces Monza Trials

Alpine F1 driver Pierre Gasly recently found himself grappling with the overall setup of his A523 during the Italian Grand Prix, leading to a significant dip in performance that left him dissatisfied and searching for solutions. The challenges were so severe that the team had no choice but to take a gamble on their race strategy.

Anticipating the difficulties they might face on the low downforce circuit of Monza, renowned for its high top-end speed racing, the team braced themselves for an uphill battle. However, any glimmer of hope was swiftly shattered when both Gasly and his teammate Esteban Ocon struggled to advance beyond the Q1 session in qualifying. Unfortunately, Ocon’s race was further compromised by a steering issue, leading to a Did Not Finish (DNF) result. Gasly, while persevering, could only manage a disappointing 15th place finish at the iconic Monza track.

Gasly voiced his deep disappointment at the turn of events, expressing his frustration over the team’s lack of pace and options. The Alpine team, faced with a challenging situation, decided to take a calculated risk by opting for a strategic approach. They chose to pit Gasly’s car twice during the race, hoping that the deployment of a safety car would create opportunities for them to make gains. Meanwhile, Ocon pursued a different strategy, pitting only once but ultimately retiring from the race.

Reflecting on the stark difference between the Italian Grand Prix and the previous weekend’s race at Zandvoort, where Gasly celebrated his first podium finish with Alpine, the French driver encountered a contrasting experience. As the race at Monza neared its conclusion, Max Verstappen began closing in on Gasly with the intention of lapping him. Fortunately, the timing worked in Gasly’s favor, as the chequered flag was waved before Verstappen could complete the maneuver.

“We thought we’d try something different on both cars and if a Safety Car comes in at any moment then me and Esteban will benefit from it, or I would benefit from one at a later point, but when you’re lacking so much performance like that, you’ve just got to gamble.

“Unfortunately, it’s no secret when you’re competitive it ends up really well, when you’re not competitive it’s much harder.”

In analyzing the root cause of the challenges faced at Monza, Gasly emphasized that the issue extended beyond the car’s power unit. Instead, he pinpointed the comprehensive package of the car setup that contributed to the disappointing performance over the weekend. Gasly stressed the importance of comprehensively understanding the performance drop to ensure proper preparation for the upcoming season. He emphasized, “It’s not just about the power unit; it’s about understanding the entire package that led to the setbacks we experienced.”

“We always knew it was going to be difficult, but I think the most important really is to understand and quantify where that drop of performance is coming from and come back next year with a stronger package.

“I’m going past Carlos [Sainz, Ferrari] last week on track, same tyres on pure pace and this week he’s standing on the podium and I’m almost a lap down.

“We knew it’s a very power-sensitive track, but it’s the whole package which has got to be better for this track.”

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