Moto GP shows how AlphaTauri could challenge top teams in future – Gasly

2021 F1 season

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AlphaTauri could emerge as a regular contender for victories under Formula 1’s incoming new rules, Pierre Gasly believes.

The sport has introduced a budget cap for the first time this year which will make it harder for AlphaTauri’s richer rivals to out-spend them. New aerodynamic regulations planned for the 2022 F1 season are expected to further narrow the gap between teams.

Gasly, who spent 12 races with Red Bull in 2019 before rejoining his current team, told RaceFans the example of successful satellite operations in Moto GP shows how smaller outfits like AlphaTauri could become contenders in F1 over the coming seasons.

“We are talking quite some years because obviously you don’t become like a top team within a year or two,” he said. “It’s a long-term project.

“They are really putting the effort and doing a lot to create their own identity and be a strong contender in Formula 1. It’s too early to know if they will have everything they require to fight against teams like Mercedes and Red Bull.

Gasly took fifth on the grid for the first two races
“I think today, no, it’s too small a team. But then if they really put the resources and the money and the infrastructure to do it, then why not?

“We’ve seen in Moto GP some factory or private teams can fight against the top teams. If the regulation is also going that way, I think it’s something that could be possible.”

Gasly scored a shock win in last year’s Italian Grand Prix for AlphaTauri, aided by a timely red flag plus early leader Lewis Hamilton receiving a 10-second stop-go penalty. Eventful races are needed to keep the sport exciting, he said.

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“I think race incidents is part of the sports otherwise, honestly, Lewis will win every day,” said Gasly. “And I don’t think that’s something we want or we expect.

Interview: “I had to fight for everything in my career” – Gasly on becoming an F1 race-winner
“At the end of the day, the reality is that there are differences between the cars and if there will be no race incidents or no unexpected things happening in the race, then that will be boring. And I [don’t] think that’s why people watch F1 races.

“Obviously the Mercedes had their issues, but there are a lot of people that could have won that race – Carlos [Sainz Jnr], Lando [Norris], Bottas came back also was in P6 before the middle of the race – and no one did it. So I think we fully deserved it.

“When Sergio [Perez] won [the Sakhir Grand Prix] Mercedes had all sorts of issues and then you could say the same. But I believe you can say the same thing as long as Lewis doesn’t win, there will be always something happening to him or to Mercedes.”

AlphaTauri was known as Toro Rosso until the beginning of last year, and has historically been a junior team training potential future Red Bull drivers. However Gasly says he could remain at the team for the long-term.

“Why not? At the end of the day my target in F1 is very clear, I just want to fight for wins and championships and that’s my goal.

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“I’m in the sport and I’m working every day. I’m training every day to one day be in a position that I can fight for world championships. And if this project works out and put us in a position that we can be fighting, then why not? I don’t see a problem.”

Ex-team mate Verstappen will be a champion, Gasly predicts
His former team mate Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are likely to be the drivers to beat over future seasons as the current generation of champions leaves the sport, says Gasly.

“Max, for sure, clearly. He is already there and it’s a matter of time before he’s world champion in a car that allows him to be world champion. And Charles will be up there.”

“I never race against George, but I could see him fighting up there as well,” he added.

But he is unsure whether to count his former karting rival Esteban Ocon, who drives alongside Fernando Alonso at Alpine, among those names.

“It’s a bit early [to say]. He’s a good driver. But so far I think we need to wait a bit longer to see if he’s able to fight. I think Max and Charles have showed enough to show that they have the potential to be up there, that’s for sure.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Moto GP shows how AlphaTauri could challenge top teams in future – Gasly”

  1. It will be great if it works out that way, only issue I see right now is Red Bull will still want a team to develop their young drivers and being along side a new rookie every couple of years isn’t likely to yield championship winning results. Not will it allow rookie’s performance to be compared.

    Maybe with the budget cap they could possible afford to bring a third team into the stable, or do a driver-engine deal with a third party team. Would be great to see HAAS given such a deal, Steiner deserves to stick around as more than a Russian billboard.

  2. ”Lewis will win every day” Or just Mercedes/Max. Regarding Monza, he should’ve mentioned Stroll too.
    I still have doubts about his view, but one thing is for sure: He doesn’t have a high chance of staying in the B-team unless the RB-backed drivers in F2 all underperform and or Tsunoda gets promoted after a single season. The Faenza team is, after all, still primarily for bringing drivers into F1 since it’s the only one where RB can place them besides RBR. Staying put isn’t in his hands, so he should also look elsewhere unless he gets another shot in the senior team.

  3. I really have grown to like Gasly. He’s gone from a driver I quite liked, to one that I felt wasn’t good enough and now to one that has not only grown but improved quite a lot. I think he’s grown into one of the stronger Red Bull trained drivers and could certainly challenge for wins or a championship. Staying at AlphaTauri or within the Red Bull group is probably best for him at the moment – there’s not really anywhere else he can go for at least the next two years.

    I hope he’s right about AlphaTauri potentially growing to become challengers in their own right – it follows Red Bull’s apparent change of philosophy around that team as more a ‘sister’ than a junior and having Red Bull’s and AlphaTauri’s completing the top four – in any order has to be a goal for them.

    1. @rocketpanda What about Gasly replacing Ocon at Alpine? If Alonso starts beating Ocon by the second half of the season, Alpine might want to look at another French driver to replace him

    2. @rocketpanda Next two years? At Alpine, for example, only Alonso is under contract for next season. Some even regard him as a darkhorse for Mercedes, but I’m more doubtful about this. Alpha Tauri is still the B-team, even if not specifically ‘junior’ anymore, and serving for its original purpose of bringing RB-backed drivers into F1. Nothing’s changed in this regard. Time will tell how next season’s driver market eventually plays out.

      1. I’m not sure about him going to Alpine, I have vague memories of reading he and Ocon were once friends but are now on poor terms – and frankly at the moment I’d say the AlphaTauri was a stronger car to have. Equally I don’t think anyone really fancies going up against Alonso, even if he’s not quite where he was yet.

        Tbh I still hope Red Bull are genuine about their intentions towards AlphaTauri – as in having it as a proper team in its own right rather than just a B-team. I think it would be far better for them to bring both Red Bull backed teams into the front than consigning AT to the midfield, but I suspect you’re probably right.

        1. @rocketpanda Yes, you’re right about him and Ocon not been the best of friends, but that’s a distant past thing, albeit more relevantly, F1 teams don’t care about the personal relationship of any given two drivers, especially as what happened in go-karting doesn’t concern them to any extent. Anyway, since Ocon is the one out of contract, Gasly would replace him unless Alonso gave up prematurely. True, for now, Alpha Tauri is ahead on pace, but next season is another matter with technical rule changes that could shake up the pecking order more than usual.
          Gasly going to Alpine even if they’d want to let Ocon go still wouldn’t be a foregone conclusion as the replacement could equally be one of their F2 academy drivers depending on their performance. We shall wait and see.

          1. ‘being’

          2. I really think if Alpine (Renault) don’t seriously consider promoting one of their academy drivers soon then what’s the point of having it? They’ve already passed up their ‘own’ talent to welcome back Alonso, and if hypothetically a seat became available and they brought in Gasly, you got to ask why have an academy at all as it provides no route to F1.

  4. The comparison to MotoGP is a strange one as the ‘privateer’ teams usually run at least one current ‘works’ bike. Customer cars is something that F1 has actively avoided.

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