Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Yas Marina, 2023

Alpine ended season ‘operating at a much higher level’ – Gasly

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Pierre Gasly will go into his second season at Alpine expecting to build on the promise he feels they showed over the final races of this year.

While admitting his first year at the team brought some disappointments and frustrations, he also returned to the podium, having failed to reach the rostrum in his last year at AlphaTauri.

“There have been some positives,” said Gasly, who peaked with third place in the Dutch Grand Prix this year and repeated the position in the sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps.

“The obvious ones are the top-three finishes in Spa and Zandvoort. But on the flip side, there were way more challenges than we expected and haven’t been able to match the ambitions and targets that we’ve set ourselves at the start of the year.

“It’s been a challenging year. It’s been disappointing on the results point of view, but I wouldn’t say we had a bad season. I would just say others had a better season and did a better job than we did. That’s the way I look at it.”

The team endured a turbulent season off-track. The departure of CEO Laurent Rossi was followed by the losses of team principal Otmar Szafnauer, sporting director Alan Permane and chief technical officer Pat Fry. Then at the end of the year Davide Brivio, who was originally hired as racing director in 2021 but was soon moved into the role of director of racing expansion projects.

Despite the changes behind the scenes, Gasly was encouraged by the progress the team made at the end of year under interim team principal Bruno Famin.

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“Objectively, we’re finishing the year stronger than we started it,” said Gasly. “I’ve seen a lot of positive evolution, progress and improvements made over the year. And it does give me good hopes for the coming season.”

Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Interlagos, 2023
Gasly ended 2023 as Alpine’s top scorer
Gasly came 11th in the standings. After scoring two points on his debut for the team in Bahrain he only added 14 more over the first half of the season. But over the second half he amassed 46.

“We just haven’t been able to have the car to allow us to fight for the results that we were expecting to be more consistently close to the top five and challenge this top three – which we thought would be top three teams, but turned out to be top four at the start of the year with Aston Martin,” said Gasly.

“We’ve just unfortunately been slightly at the back of it on a couple of occasions. On very specific tracks we’ve been able to show our noses. But not enough to be in any sort of battle in the championship.”

However he believes the team has identified the areas it must improve in 2024, in terms of both its operations and car performance.

“From what I’m seeing inside the team at the moment, we’re really trying to improve everywhere,” he said. “We’re really aware of our weaknesses, we’re really aware of our potential, we know our strengths, we know the areas where we’ve got to get stronger, and there are a lot of processes that are put in place to tackle these weaknesses. So we have the right spirit.

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“I have no guarantee that next year we’re going to have a car that allows me to get the positions and the targets that we set ourselves at the start of the year, but all I can see right now is that we’re trying as hard as we can to get there. And the processes that we put in place are the right ones.”

Gasly is hoping for “a more efficient package” than the Alpine A523 he drove this year. He also identified drive-ability as an area where the team can make gains.

The car’s performance has been “up and down,” he said. “Sometimes the balance actually feels quite fine. But you’re just in four-wheel slides.

“Generally we’re missing [downforce] load in high speeds, which we know. We’re missing a bit of front grip at low speed compared to what I like and missing a bit of ride [quality]. It’s just very small areas.

“But I’m pretty sure [it’s] not like other teams are perfect on everywhere as well. I think it’s constant progress that we’re chasing.”

He is encouraged by the improvements the team has made in how it co-ordinates its performance during competitive sessions.

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“I definitely felt that things were getting better [over this year], and also within the team and in the communication and the dialogue and the understanding of what type of car I like. There was a couple of missed shots at the start of the year, but also from not understanding where the car is at and how to always maximise it. A couple of missed shots on strategy at times, and a bit of bad luck to start.

“But I think the way we’ve been operating the last three months is definitely a much, much higher level.”

While he doesn’t see a single moment in the season as being a turning point for the team, Gasly said that “clearly from the start of the year, the first three months compared to the last three months, I’ve definitely seen quite a big change in the efficiency that we are achieving as a team.

“For my position within the team, I’m in a much better place, and I know starting in Bahrain next season is going to be a very big difference compared to where I was at the start of the year.”

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5 comments on “Alpine ended season ‘operating at a much higher level’ – Gasly”

  1. Coventry Climax
    28th December 2023, 12:02

    Him saying ‘we’ at every occasion, makes it hard to discern between ‘We, prince Gasly’ and ‘we, at Alpine’.

    The article’s title seems based on

    “But I think the way we’ve been operating the last three months is definitely a much, much higher level.”

    but it’s unclear again which ‘we’ he refers to.

    Either way, it doesn’t really matter much, as from the figures, it appears to mostly be wishful thinking anyway.
    Neither his personal points or the points for the team (sum of his and Ocon’s) show any clear upward trend.

    His average finishing position is 10,7.
    First half average finishing position is 11.8, second half is 9,5. So yes, he improved the second half, but to call that ‘much’?
    But divide the season in three:
    First seven races average finishing position: 10, second seven: 12.7, last 8 races average: 9.5
    Round 15 (which is in the last 8 races) he finished 6th, which brings the average down. For the last seven races, the average is position 10 again.
    Sorry, can’t really see a trend here at all.

    1. Yes, me neither, to me alpine\renault is consistently mediocre and never really showed any signs of progress in the last many years.

    2. Gasly scored 16 points in the first half of the season, 46 in the second part… So yeah, it’s fair to say the second part was much better.

      The overall performance of the Alpine did not really seem to improve compared to the other teams, but at least they were able to secure result more consistently. That is to say, mostly on Gasly side of the garage (which is not only the driver, but also his engineers)… Potentially more Gasly settling in the team than car improvement, then.

      1. Coventry Climax
        29th December 2023, 12:16

        First place 25 points, second 18. Repeat that for a 20 race season,that’s a 140 points difference, with only one finishing position difference.

        Point is (pun intended) that comparing finishing positions tells a story much more accurately than comparing points.

  2. Alpine are such an unlikeable F1 team with no hope of doing any better than the midfield haha. I’d love to be proved wrong

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