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Gasly: AlphaTauri ‘paying the price a bit more’ in closer F1 midfield

Pierre Gasly believes AlphaTauri is “paying the price a bit more” for its inconsistent form due to the increased competition in Formula 1’s midfield this year.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Gasly led AlphaTauri to the largest points haul in the team’s history last year as it finished sixth in the championship on 142 points, giving the Italian squad hope of breaking into the top five in 2022.

But the team has instead slipped back through the competitive midfield, leaving it with just 27 points to show for the opening 13 races, 57 less than it had at the same point last year.

It has failed to score any points since Gasly finished fifth in Azerbaijan in the middle of June, causing it to drop to eighth in the championship, only ahead of Aston Martin and Williams.

Gasly is currently in his fourth full season at Faenza, and is embracing more of a leadership role as he tries to help bring the team forward through its struggles, particularly against the closer midfield pack this year.

“I believe that in this kind of moment, as a leader, you’ve got to unite and keep everybody united, working towards the same goal,” Gasly told Motosport.com.

“This is not easy, because we’re all humans and people want work versus reward. At the moment, we are all working hard, but we are not getting the reward for that effort that we are producing.

“I do believe there are still chances and signs that we can get good results. But objectively, it’s clearly harder than last year, especially I would say in a more competitive midfield.

“Now there are no teams at the back like Williams or Haas. It’s all a midfield from the fourth team to the last one.

“It just means that if you go a bit on the back foot, last year where you would still be close to the top 10, now you are paying the price a bit more.”

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Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Gasly’s run to fifth in Baku marked AlphaTauri’s best result of the season after the AT03 car proved competitive throughout the weekend, pointing to the capabilities of the AT03 car when the track layout and circuit conditions play to its strengths.

“The situation feels a little bit like 2018 when I joined the team,” Gasly said. “We had this sort of very specific race where things [worked]. I have in mind like Bahrain, Bahrain with that P4, it was kind of the same issue as Baku [this year] with the P5.

“We have some very small glimpses of very amazing performance, but on very particular tracks and in specific conditions.

“For the rest, I would say quite a lot of bad luck or like incidents that affected our end result. This is always frustrating.

“When you’re working towards one goal in mind, and that’s what you want more than anything else, and you see that things are not coming altogether, it’s not always easy to deal with it.”

AlphaTauri took a more conservative approach to its upgrade plan than many of its midfield rivals, delaying the introduction of its first major package until the French Grand Prix towards the end of July. 

But the update failed to offer a noticeable step forward, leaving both Gasly and team-mate Yuki Tsunoda still trying to understand and unlock its potential heading into the second half of the season.

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