Gasly departed the Red Bull stable, swapping AlphaTauri for Alpine, to replace Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso as part of the 2022 driver market ‘silly season’.
The 2020 Italian Grand Prix victor kicked off his Alpine tenure by qualifying last for the Bahrain opener after exceeding track limits but recovered to ninth in the race. He repeated that result in Saudi Arabia to finish one place behind team-mate Esteban Ocon.
Alpine F1 boss Otmar Szafnauer has now revealed Gasly then requested patience while the driver improves his understanding of car set-up and the engineering team.
Speaking on the Friday of the Australian GP weekend, Szafnauer said: “He’s new and it takes time.
“He’s enjoying the team, he likes his engineering team and the mechanics, and we like him.
“He’s fast but it will take time at the margin to eke every little bit out of the car and he’s still getting comfortable with us.
“I talked to him after the last race [in Saudi] and he said, ‘Look, give me a couple more races and there’s a couple of tenths in me’.”
Pierre Gasly, Alpine F1 Team in the Press Conference
Photo by: Motorsport Images
Asked where that gain would come from, Szafnauer added: “I think it’s just a better understanding of driver and engineering team to set the car up like he likes it.”
Alpine set a clear pre-season target of retaining fourth in the constructors’ championship while closing the gap to Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari.
It is seeking to do this by out-developing all other teams to build on its strong 2022 success rate with upgrade packages.
But Alpine currently sits fifth in the table with eight points, while Ferrari occupies fourth with a score of 26 and last season’s midfield runner Aston Martin has streaked past into second place.
Asked to evaluate progress, Gasly said: “I wouldn’t say that I’m pleased because we obviously want to fight higher up the grid and it feels like so far we’re a bit in no man’s land behind the top four teams.
“I had a bit of the midfield behind us, even though it’s close, but we are still chasing and trying to get closer to those frontrunners.
“But generally, I think it’s been an OK start, a decent start, but as a team we want to be fighting for bigger points.”
He added: “It’s just a matter of time until we see new parts coming on the car and obviously there is also this part of understanding between the team and myself, really understanding what I need out of a race car to extract the maximum of it.
“It’s been only two races and as I say, decent, but generally speaking, the overall performance hasn’t been as good as we aim for, and we’ll work to make that better over the next few races.”