On the same day as launching the AT02, the official website of AlphaTauri also released an exclusive interview with their talismanic driver. Pierre Gasly is used to challenges and his pre-season training certainly provided one or two for the popular Frenchman. In his latest interview, Gasly discussed his thoughts on the upcoming season and his new teammate Yuki Tsunoda. Not to mention, reflecting on testing positive for COVID-19 at the end of January and the new responsibility he will hold as a senior member of the team.
Yesterday, we reported on how refreshing it was to be able to report on a print media exclusive article following Fernando Alonso’s revelations to the Official Formula One Magazine.
Yet today, it is a return to the norm seeing how as soon as the AT02 was launched online – so too was an exclusive Pierre Gasly interview.
The official website of Red Bull Racing’s sister team, scuderiaalphatuari.com asked Gasly about his preseason training.
“It was really good. After spending some time with my family, especially for Christmas, I went with my coach to Dubai. I did the same last year and it worked really well, I felt really fit, so I adopted the same plan this time. In Dubai there are amazing training facilities and the weather is ideal for some outdoor exercise and I could push myself quite hard. Unfortunately, I tested positive for COVID at the end of January but luckily, I felt good, so I could continue training in my apartment. A slight cough for a couple of days did not stop me, I wasn’t tired at all, so I could go on with my training programme. I didn’t miss anything and I’m ready for the new season.”
It is little wonder to hear that ‘a slight cough’ did not adversely affect Pierre Gasly seeing how the Frenchman has already overcome so much both on and off the track. The 2020 F1 season was his best yet due to a victorious Italian GP so no doubt the number 1 driver at AlphaTauri is raring to go:
“I put my good results last year down to being more experienced, as it was my third season in F1 and also the first time I had stayed for a second full season with the same team. I’d say it was mainly the continuity from 2019 that paid off, working with the same engineers, having a better understanding of what we are doing and as a team we all succeeded in exploiting the experiences from the previous two years. I’m always hungry for more, so I’m sure we can achieve great things also in 2021.”
As experienced as Pierre Gasly is, his opposite number replacing Daniil Kvyat is the Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda, so what were Gasly’s early thoughts on his teammate?
“Of course, Yuki’s arrival means I will have more responsibility within the team and I’m ready to take on the role of team leader. However, he is a very quick driver and he will help us move the team forward…we will work together to achieve that. He lacks experience, so it won’t always be easy for him, but I think he is talented and it will also be up to me and the team to lead the way. His arrival doesn’t really change my approach, which will be the same as last year, when we got the most out of what we had to work with at pretty much all the Grand Prix, apart from one or two.”
The 2020 AT01 was a big step forward for the team formerly known as Toro Rosso and due to the basic chassis remaining the same in 2021 - confidence for the season must be high:
“The car did seem pretty good. Where we are in the mid-field, all the teams made a lot of progress and the gaps are very small. We finished seventh in the championship, but there were times when we were fighting to be the fourth or fifth best car in the field. We were fighting some very good teams that have big budgets and a lot of experience. Last year, we had a car that allowed us to fight with them and I got through to Q3 quite often. This year I hope we can make a step up, that will allow us to be nearer the front of the midfield.”
Due to a Grand Prix victory in the pinnacle of motorsport under his belt, the question was then asked as to whether Pierre Gasly feels that he is at the top of his game as a driver, or is there room for improvement?
“I think last year I did a very good job and I was able to drive the way I wanted and I managed to have an excellent relationship with my engineers, we understood what the team needed, what I needed and how to work together and that’s what brought the results. I was really satisfied, but there is still room for improvement, room for fine tuning.”
As the 2021 F1 season dawns there are still so many question marks as to how many fans will be in attendance and how accessible the paddock will be. Pierre Gasly realizes the part he has to play in following rules and regulations while also entertaining race fans in their millions.
I realise how lucky I am. The sport’s organisers have done all they can to ensure we have the best season possible this year and to once again provide entertainment for the fans. Daily life is tough for a lot of people right now, so to be able to bring them something to smile about on a Sunday makes it worthwhile and is always a pleasure. What motivates me every morning is to do my best on track and to achieve my goals in Formula 1. That’s what I work on every day.”
Pierre Gasly is humble and hardworking and as such there is surely no one in the world of motorsport who does not hope to see his career go from strength to strength. He may not drive a car which is at the top of the field but he certainly worries those drivers in front of him when he appears in their wing mirrors.
Pierre Gasly is at the top of his game and that is yet another reason to be excited for the start of the 2021 F1 season.