The world of Formula 1 is no stranger to drama, but the Japanese Grand Prix delivered a dose of unexpected turmoil as Alpine’s Pierre Gasly found himself entangled in a puzzling team directive during the final lap of the race. This directive has left Gasly, the French sensation, bewildered and seeking answers.
Gasly’s day at the Suzuka International Racing Course had started promisingly. Qualifying ahead of his teammate Esteban Ocon, he managed to maintain his lead, especially after Ocon suffered a puncture on the opening lap. It seemed like Gasly was on track for a strong finish.
However, Formula 1 is a world where strategies can shift the tides of a race in an instant. Such was the case during the Japanese Grand Prix. Ocon, facing adversity after the puncture, made a strategic pit stop that ultimately worked in his favor, catapulting him ahead of Gasly.
The real confusion, though, unfolded later in the race. Gasly, armed with fresher tires and in a prime position to chase down the cars ahead, was suddenly instructed by his team to let Ocon pass. It was a move that left Gasly in utter disbelief.
Karel Loos, Gasly’s race engineer, reiterated the order, leaving Gasly no choice but to comply. He couldn’t help but label the decision a “complete joke.” The French driver was perplexed, especially since such a game-changing move had “never been discussed before the race.”
Gasly, always the professional, attempted to make sense of the situation. As the leading car, he couldn’t fathom why the team would employ a strategy that effectively undercut him. Despite his frustration, Gasly has committed to addressing the matter internally with the team.
“Wait, what the f***, [are] you kidding me, why you saying like, I was faster, I’m on fresher rubber if he would not have passed me I’d have overtaken him anyway. Are you serious? You’re being serious? I started in front, I was in front the whole race, you let him undercut me.”
In his assessment, Gasly admitted to prioritizing the team’s interests, even though he failed to comprehend the logic behind their decision. He offered an insight into his perspective, emphasizing that he was the one leading the charge on the track. Gasly, displaying remarkable sportsmanship, respects the team’s call, saying, “Sometimes in racing, you have to trust your team’s judgment.”
Reflecting on Alpine’s overall performance, Gasly remains optimistic about the team’s progress. He pointed out that they are steadily closing in on rivals like Aston Martin. Gasly firmly believes that more opportunities await them in the upcoming races.
“I think we did a good strategy. As a team, we did the best job we could with both cars.
“In the end, I don’t understand the team’s decision, but I respected it. I let Esteban past. But in the end, it’s three points for the team, and that’s what we have to look at.”
In the high-stakes world of Formula 1, team directives can be as unpredictable as the races themselves. Gasly’s confusion and frustration in the Japanese Grand Prix serve as a reminder that even in the pursuit of victory, there are moments that defy logic.