Gasly hobbled by car issues on Super Formula debut
Red Bull protege Pierre Gasly returned empty-handed from Suzuka after a spate of car issues compromised his Super Formula debut.
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Gasly was expected to be fighting for top-five positions on the basis of pre-season testing, where he finished as the top Honda-powered driver.
However, set-up issues in practice affected his preparation for the weekend, with additional brake and gearbox problems consigning him to the midfield.
After qualifying eighth, the Frenchman eventually finished 10th, some 21 seconds behind race winner Kazuki Nakajima.
“This weekend didn’t feel right from the beginning,” Gasly said. “We tried some set-ups for practice, but it was completely wrong.
“So we went back to the baseline of the test in qualifying, but it still didn’t feel right for the conditions. We could have qualified in the top five, but we were still missing a little bit.
“The engineer told me we had a problem with the brakes as well. Big difference in [track] temperatures made the tyres go way too high in temperatures as well."
He added: “The [working] window of the tyres is quite small. This problem on the brakes led to problem with the tyres, making it difficult to keep them in the window.
“Then we had problems with the gearbox. So today was a difficult day.
“It’s a bit of shame because we had a good start, going up from P8 to P6. Then the strategy wasn’t so great. We lost two positions. Then after the pace wasn’t good.”
Gasly rued the fact that none of the issues he faced at Suzuka occurred in pre-season testing, where he clocked a total of 225 laps and showed strong pace to finish inside the top-five on each of the four days.
“This weekend I faced some new situations that I didn’t before,” he said. “So it’s also good experience. But I mean there were just too many problems this weekend.
“It’s a shame that we didn’t get these problems in testing, as we could have solved them for this weekend.
“So now we just need to analyse everything and come back stronger in Okayama. And just make sure we don’t have the problems anymore.”
Additional reporting by Kunihiko Akai
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