Pierre Gasly has described how he did not return to France for two months following the cancelled Australian Grand Prix in case he had contracted Covid-19.2020 F1 season was called off.
“We were in Australia for the first race of the year and suddenly everything stopped on Friday like an hour before the first practice of the season,” said Gasly in an interview for new sponsor Hawkers.
“The whole weekend got cancelled and then, after that, all the other races,” he added, “so the whole season was delayed, and therefore, my whole 2020 season is also delayed.
“After Australia I came back to Dubai, I was planning to stay there just before the Bahrain Grand Prix which got cancelled as well. So we decided to stay there just for two days to assess the situation in Europe.
“When I realised that the situation was bad, my coach and I decided to stay in Dubai, since it was safer and offered better conditions to train. I stayed in Dubai for about two months, which was a really tough period for everyone, having to stay inside in lockdown with not very much to do.”
Gasly used the time to work on his physical fitness. “In that sense, I was pretty lucky to be able to stay there and we managed to have a personal gym so I could train every single day for two months and really focus on the physical preparation, which was great.
“I improved a lot and for sure I am in my best shape ever. I’m really happy about it and we still have a couple more weeks of training before the season starts.”
He has since returned to France to spend time with his family. “After these two months, I felt more confident that I wasn’t sick and I wasn’t going to spread, just in case I would have been.
“I felt it safer now to come back and to see them and spend some more time with them. I don’t get to see them often during the season so now it’s a good opportunity to do so.”
Gasly said his spell in Dubai felt “more like a training camp”.
“We monitored my sleep, my recovery time, especially my resting heart rate and got to see the effect it had on my training,” he said. “My resting heart rate went below 40 beats per minute during the night [while] my usual frequency is around 46.
“Of course I would have liked to race, and I really missed racing a lot, but we try to make the best out of all the time we had available. I think we did it. Hopefully now we can get back to what I love the most, racing, and hopefully the championship can get started very soon.”
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2020 F1 season
- Pictures: Wrecked chassis from Grosjean’s Bahrain fireball crash to go on display
- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers