Pierre Gasly says his first impressions of life at Alpine were even better than he had expected after driving for the team in the Abu Dhabi test on Tuesday.
A number of teams were able to run their 2023 drivers at the Yas Marina Circuit, and Gasly was released to drive for Alpine after Fernando Alonso got the nod to move to Aston Martin and Nyck de Vries started work at AlphaTauri. After having raced on Sunday, Gasly said he could make an immediate comparison to the AlphaTauri car and noticed many strengths about the way Alpine operates.
“I think it’s been even better (than expected),” Gasly said. “I’ve been in a single environment for the past five years and so far what I’ve seen there is massive experience in this team. From the top engineers inside the engineering office, but also inside the garage.
“The way they are working; I haven’t seen everything yet, I still need to go to Enstone and see all the tools and facilities that they have, but I’ve been very impressed with their way of approaching this first day.
“Also, the way they welcomed me. It’s never easy when you’ve got someone new coming in who was racing two days ago with our respective teams and drivers. It goes pretty quick, but they welcomed me in the best possible way, and so far only positive signs. So it’s really promising for the future and it also gets me very excited before I go on holiday, so I’m very pleased with that.”
The Frenchman completed 130 laps in the test and was fourth fastest overall behind the Ferrari trio of Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc and Robert Shwartzman, saying it didn’t take him long to be able to push the Alpine to its limits.
“I’m very happy,” he said. “Very positively surprised and everything went so smoothly. Adaptation went pretty well, I obviously came with an open mind because it’s the first time I’m changing the complete new environment, complete new car, and initially everything felt different. From the steering feeling, throttle pedal stroke, stiffness of the pedals, the way it reacts, everything was kind of surprising at the start.
“But we managed to get everything we wanted to. Very quickly I felt comfortable in the car, and I understand now why they finished fourth in the team’s championship. It all made sense to me. I’m very excited for what’s coming.”
Gasly also saw traits in this year’s Alpine that appeal to him, and he hopes to have a similarly competitive car in 2023.
“I think they’ve got a pretty strong front grip in medium speed and low speed corners, and things I’ve been trying to work on this season and kind have been looking for,” he said. “Pretty quickly, you get the first few feelings of the car and what you can do with it – how much it rotates, the potential that you’ve got – and pretty quickly I understood the potential that it has.
“It went very well, and also the guys, it was the first day properly working with them. The main point of doing the day was to start working with my engineers, getting to know the guys, the mechanics in the garage, everyone in the engineering room, trying to speak the same language of what I need as a driver. Oversteer, understeer, what I mean by all my feedback. It has been extremely positive and I have been very happy with what I’ve seen inside the garage.”