AlphaTauri had a Turkish Grand Prix to forget. With Pierre Gasly coming across the line in 13th just behind his teammate Daniil Kvyat, this lackluster performance brought a sudden end to AlphaTauri’s 10-race streak of point scoring. Pierre Gasly, already a winner this season thanks to his stunning Italian GP victory, is the team’s driving force. However, the Frenchman is an open and honest talker and has called the performance in Istanbul “embarrassing”, after both he and Daniil Kvyat left Turkey after a 2 hour struggle on track with zero points and also a lap down.
Pierre Gasly entered the race weekend in Turkey full of confidence knowing that he had a quick car. Having qualified 4th last time out at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the Frenchman knew he had found pace for his AT01. Although that Grand Prix in Italy did not go to plan for him, at least with Daniil Kvyat finishing 4th, it was evident that AlphaTauri had a quick car. As a result of this and Gasly getting up to 7th in both dry Friday Free Practices, this made the team’s performance in Turkey all the more puzzling. Yes the track was wet…but where was the pace?
Throughout his Formula One career, Pierre Gasly has shown he is up for a challenge. With an opening lap in Turkey to rival that of Kimi Raikkonen’s masterclass from the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Frenchman found himself up to 13th by the end of the first lap. Unfortunately, a lack of pace meant that was it for Gasly and he would be keen to forget this weekend in a hurry:
“The whole weekend was really bad,” said Gasly after the race. “We had a very poor performance in the wet, and honestly, it’s a bit embarrassing, because we’re just so slow with the wets, with the inters, we can’t switch them on.
“It was the same in quali. We took a penalty, so a lot of problems.”
Qualifying in Turkey was always going to be a challenge with the well-documented lack of grip on the newly re-laid surface. Then, when the rain followed, all bets were off as to what the outcome would be. Pierre Gasly finished the session in 13th but then a costly error for the Frenchman at no fault of his own made is task on Sunday all the more challenging.
AlphaTauri had made the decision to change the power unit in Gasly’s car and the FIA granted the request. Having disassembled the car, the team chose not to follow through with the power unit change and assumed no grid penalty would be handed out. The stewards though thought different and decreed that having chosen to work on the car was an infringement of parc ferme conditions - whether going through with the power unit change or not. Therefore, Gasly was sent to the back of the grid for Sunday’s race – eventually starting 19th after all the steward sanctions throughout the grid.
“We need to do better, because honestly, it was a poor performance from our side since yesterday morning. We’ll have to work for the next races.” Gasly said to the waiting media on Sunday.
“It was obviously very unique conditions that I don’t expect we’re going to face [again],” said Gasly. “But just for all of us, I think we need to understand what went wrong and what didn’t work. We already have some answers from yesterday, but we could not make the changes for today. But still, we should have anticipated all these things and I think we could have done a better job. But now it’s done and we need to look at the next three races.”
Pierre Gasly is not a man to dwell on the past or survive on past successes. This time last year he was celebrating the most unexpected of podiums at the Brazilian Grand Prix and whatever happens in the final races he ends the 2020 F1 season as a race-winner.
Lewis Hamilton may have already sealed his 7th F1 Drivers’ World Championship in magnificent fashion last Sunday but the battle throughout the Constructors’ championship is closely fought indeed…well, for those other than Mercedes and Red Bull at least.
Scuderia AlphaTauri and Scuderia Ferrari were having a great battle for 6th place and entered the Turkish Grand Prix 14 points behind the Prancing Horse. As a result of Ferrari’s magnificently unexpected 27-point haul from Turkey this gap has increased to 41 points – with only three races remaining.
However, in the Drivers’ championship, Pierre Gasly finds himself in 10th position and just 12 points away from 7th – showing how congested the midfield table is. AlphaTauri do have a quick car in the dry, irrespective of what the table says. As such, you can be sure that Pierre Gasly has his sights set on those above him and first up is none other than Alexander Albon, at just 7 points adrift.
Yes, there may only be 3 races left but what a superb contest they could yet prove to be.