Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Gasly: AlphaTauri “have to revise” Austrian GP strategy choices

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly believes the decision to use a two-stop strategy for the Austrian Grand Prix cost AlphaTauri a stronger result than the ninth place he came away with.

Only the Mercedes, Red Bulls and McLarens Lando Norris outpaced Gasly on Saturday. The AlphaTauri driver was just 0.058 seconds slower than Bottas in qualifying.

Unlike those ahead, Gasly started on the softest tyre which degraded quickly, forcing him to make two pit stops. As a result he fell from fifth down to 18th early on. Despite strong pace, his time in traffic meant he was jumped by the one-stopping Ferraris and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo by the finish.

“We thought we will probably benefit a bit more from this two-stop, and it turned out that it was not ideal,” Gasly conceded.

“Looking at the Aston Martin on the same strategy, looking at Yuki [Tsunoda] and myself, we seemed to struggle a bit more. But we still came really close to the Ferraris, which had a very good race pace last weekend.”

Gasly finished 4.7s behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jnr, who came fifth, and spent the last two laps hassling his team mate Charles Leclerc.

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“I think it’s still a good day but came really close to Charles. I would have liked to try something, but unfortunately I missed a lap.”

Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Gallery: 2021 Austrian Grand Prix in pictures
The decision to start on the softs meant Gasly had to pit after 13 laps, one more than team mate Tsunoda. AlphaTauri committed to the strategy after Friday practice as they ruled out a one-stop race starting on the medium tyre.

“We had to commit Friday night. We didn’t feel like we had the pace to do it [on medium]. In terms of strategy we need to look at the numbers and see our approach of the weekend.

“But McLaren made it work, Daniel [Ricciardo] starting from P13, managed to come back quite well with the one-stop. So there were some positives clearly to do the one-stop, but we’ll have to revise it.”

Gasly said he tried to extend his opening stint to make a one-stop strategy viable. “After five laps I was already really struggling with the rear. I tried to extend [but it] wasn’t really the tyre to race on, so that’s why we switched quite early on on the hard tyre.

“Obviously you come through traffic so you lose a bit of lap time here and there. But at the end, the last stint was really strong coming back on the Ferraris and the McLarens so at least it was a positive.”

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2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Elliot Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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5 comments on “Gasly: AlphaTauri “have to revise” Austrian GP strategy choices”

  1. If only F1 and FIA would finally ax the outdated and unnecessary race starting tyre rule concerning top ten qualifiers.

  2. They made the wrong call on Saturday (just like Aston Martin), focusing on a good starting position, instead of having decent race pace on Sunday.
    But I think it would have only made a difference for them, if they had managed to get into Q3 on Mediums. If they had started outside the Top 10, the result would have likely been the same, as they didn’t have enough pace.

    Ferrari went the other direction and had really good race pace in clean air (Sainz was even matching Verstappen, after he pitted and had nobody in front of him). They then paid the price of being stuck in a DRS train for most part of the race, which heavily compromised their race.

  3. It amazes me how desperate teams are to get into Q3…. If they start 11th and get new tyres, they are downbeat about it and yet if they scrape through and start 10th on used softs that will only last half a lap, they are delighted and celebrate it like a win.

    If you’re fighting for the top 4 rows, obviously you want to be in Q3 but using softs to get onto the 5th row is madness.

    1. 100%. I truly don’t understand this. Nowadays if a car starts form 11 or 12 with the tyres they choose and/or the tyres that better fit they strategy, they clearly have a tactical advantage over the cars that start 8-10 with semidestroyed tyres. It’s silly.
      Now, regarding Gasly, clearly AT got it wrong, and the endless convoy of cars with DRS destroyed his race.

    2. Sometimes it’s an advantage to start on the softer tyres as they can guarantee a relative undercut to those on the mediums or hards. However these softs were the ultrasofts and too soft to be raceable at Red Bull Ring. in this race and the early safety car eliminated any chance of the Alpha Tauris and Aston Martins building up a gap over the chasing drivers and even the backmarkers. Alpha Tauri could have pitted Gasly early & left Tsunoda out as long as possible to back the pack up into Gasly. Then pitted him when he caught up. It could have triggered undercut attempts from those on mediums / hards to further benefit Gasly.

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