“Extreme” balance shift leaves Gasly last on grid in first race for Alpine

2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly said he was caught out by a sudden change in the balance of his Alpine after qualifying last on his debut for the team this weekend.

While his team mate Esteban Ocon took ninth on the grid for today’s race, Gasly was eliminated in Q1. He had already failed to make the cut for the next round when his quickest lap time was deleted for a track limits infringement, leaving him last on the grid.

Gasly said he had lacked front-end grip from his car for much of the weekend, and was surprised when its balanced changed dramatically in qualifying.

“I don’t fully have the answers now,” Gasly told media including RaceFans after qualifying. But I looked for more front the whole weekend and struggled with understeer, understeer.

“[Then] just everything clicked in quali in these conditions, I don’t know why, and it was just way too extreme for the conditions and was a bit all over the place on all the exits. So we’ll look to understand what’s happened.”

Testing gave no indication the car’s balance would change so abruptly, said Gasly.

“It’s very natural to extract all the pace in testing,” he explained. “[This was] pretty much the first time that we went all-out and just the car behaved very different to what I have experienced before.”

However he’s confident the Alpine has “way more pace than what we’ve showed” in qualifying.

“It just needs a bit of analysing. I’m quite confident in the long run. We’ve got some good pace so I know we’ll come back but it’s not ideal to start the first race where we’ll start.”

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2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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