Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

AlphaTauri in stronger position at start of season than last year – Gasly

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In the round-up: Pierre Gasly says AlphaTauri are going into the new season in better shape than they did 12 months ago.

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What they say

Gasly is feeling optimistic about AlphaTauri’s performance ahead of the opening round of the 2021 season after covering the most laps of any driver during testing.

You always find things to improve. But to be honest, after three days, [it’s] a lot better than where we were at the same time last year in Barcelona after the same amount of time. So I’m really happy.

I think we know which opponents are going to be very fast as well. We already have some ideas. I think we know where we struggle a little bit at the moment but hopefully we can find some answers in the coming days before we come back here for the race. But I really hope we can be in the fight especially for some good points.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Mercedes’ claim that ‘too many cars were ahead of us on pace’ in testing had many readers rolling their eyes in anticipation of another all-Mercedes front row come the Bahrain Grand Prix. However, Tom is not so sure that the Silver Arrows are bluffing this year around…

Having watched quite a lot of the testing coverage I’d actually agree with Mercedes on this one. The car was off the road a lot and both Hamilton and Bottas struggled with the driveability. Spinning, running wide, big twitches, lock ups – the car was simply all over the place the last few days. I honestly think they’ve gone the wrong way with the car design, whereas Red Bull have nailed it. Honda was arguably the best engine last year and they’ve made some good steps forward. Red Bull were extremely strong towards the end of last season too. That combination looks to be a winner. Of course there’s more pace to come from every team, but something feels very different with Mercedes this year. There’s usually a faster high fuel lap or sector which really catches my eye, but so far Mercedes have shown nothing to make me believe they are the team to beat, maybe not even top three.

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On this day in F1

  • 40 years ago today reigning champion Alan Jones won the season-opening Long Beach Grand Prix for Williams ahead of team mate Carlos Reutemann.

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16 comments on “AlphaTauri in stronger position at start of season than last year – Gasly”

  1. COTD the merc is usually like that. Their car is responsive and nimble, we often see the drivers sliding the car at will. The problem with the theory merc is in trouble is that merc slowest times are much faster than everyone elses slow times.

    1. I don’t necessarily agree.
      Normally in testing they come out and pound away more laps than anyone without showing their hand but the thing stays well glued to the track.
      This time they didn’t, nor did they show any massive speed & given the aero changes were meant to affect the back end, particularly theirs, it’s quite possible they still have work to do.
      I guess we’ll find out in 2 weeks but my feeling is they haven’t quite gotten it sorted.

  2. Can’t Indycar use the Drive To Survive videos and put it on a tape loop?

  3. In the event that mercedes are not the fastest car, this might be the first time we see them struggle to catch up.
    With the budget cap in place, the limit on wind tunnel time and an eye on next season, this is the first time they can’t spend their way out of a problem.

  4. Interesting that Lando (or indeed anyone) can come back to the UK during the not quite 2 week gap to the first race without the need to quarantine for 10 days.
    I’m yet to hear of travel exceptions at this time. The football International break is threatening to cause a lot of issues, so interesting to know that F1 appear to have agreements in place.

    1. @eurobrun Interesting (and weird) indeed, which is why testing perhaps would’ve been better off taking place seven days close to the race weekend.

  5. I expect Alpha Tauri to finish 7th again in the WCC. I can’t see them beating Aston Martin, Mclaren, Alpine, or Ferrari on pure pace throughout the season.

    On a lighter note: Sainz was already practicing for what’s coming in the upcoming season.

    I feel like the Five Takeaways from F2 pre-season testing had already been used for a round-up before.

    Re COTD: I still predict another double for Mercedes + a record-breaking 8th WDC for HAM despite what happened in testing.

    Perhaps the testing should’ve taken place a weekend later, after all, to minimize the temptation for even a single person to do back-and-forth travel without a super great need. If only all teams would’ve agreed to postpone the test even further.

    1. It really depends if Alpha Tauri can maximize the car’s potential, by that I mean score as many points as they can, given the car they have.
      Racing Point blew it last year, partially because they made too many mistakes. They should’ve easily cleared the rest of the midfield, but they didn’t and ‘only’ managed P4. The same could happen to Alpha Tauri, if they don’t maximize their results. Given the competitiveness in the midfield, that could mean they either finish in P5 or P8.

      1. Despite the headline times, AT is not the fastest car of the midfield @srga91. They do have a very good package, and their lineup does seem promising, so I agree that they need to score when they can. But RP was in a different position last year, they were clearly ahead on pace, but got outscored by others.

        1. @bascb
          I agree. I just wanted to point out that, with the competitiveness in the midfield, they have to seize every opportunity that they get to beat their opponents, otherwise it might backfire and cost them a lot of points and money if they don’t maximize their performance.

          1. Yes, that is certainly a point well made @srga91

    2. I think AT might be a regular in the p3-p7 battle @jerejj, although I agree that they are quite unlikely to be at the front of that fight more than on a few occasions.
      Off course it also depends on whether Ferrari have made a solid step, and whether AM dropped a lot into the pack.

      For the CotD – I don’t think many of us would agree that the Honda was the strongest engine last year. And yeah, Mercedes does look like they are somewhat on the back foot, that will almost certainly just mean that they will have to fight off the RB cars more often in Q3 instead of it being just between them.

    3. But I really hope we can be in the fight especially for some good points.

      Gasly saying ‘good points’ means more than 1 or 2 which really means they think they can fight and beat the Ferraris, Alpines or Aston Martins, assuming the top 6 spots are taken by Merc, RB and McLaren.

  6. Re CoTD – I agree that Mercedes car behaviour was erratic and they have some work to do to sort it out, but I think it’s too early to say they’ve gone the wrong direction on car design. It’s possible that most of the adjustments required are setup or minor issues that can be dialled in with a little more analysis and mileage. At worst (for them) I think they might start off the season on the back foot and take a couple of races to sort themselves out, but at this point they are still strong favourites to take home both titles convincingly – as they’ve done every season of the hybrid era.

  7. @jerejj

    On a lighter note: Sainz was already practicing for what’s coming in the upcoming season.

    Desperate lunges to try and overtake Alfa Romeo for position? ;) Surely not that bad.

    1. @balue I agree, but I intended my point to be a joke that Ferrari would be fighting for the same positions as Alfa Romeo towards the back, which is quite unlikely.

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