‘I’m ready to take on the role of team leader’, says Gasly as AlphaTauri gear up for 2021
Pierre Gasly has looked like a driver reborn since his demotion from Red Bull. The Frenchman clinched his first victory last year and is now set to take on a leadership role at AlphaTauri with rookie Yuki Tsunoda joining – a role he is excited to fill.
AlphaTauri have gone for a blend of youth and experience this year, Tsunoda earning promotion to replace Daniil Kvyat after a fine third-place in F2 last year, while Gasly developed impressively last season to earn a fourth full year in F1.
Tsunoda arrives in F1 with just one year in F3 and F2 respectively, with his running in F1 machinery limited to just four tests. That puts a lot of emphasis, then, on Gasly’s experience and feedback to ensure the team make consistent steps this year.
“Of course, Yuki’s arrival means I will have more responsibility within the team and I’m ready to take on the role of team leader,” said Gasly. “However, he is a very quick driver and he will help us move the team forward.
“I know Yuki, he is a competitive guy and showed what he can do in F2, that’s why he was promoted to F1 after just one year. We will work together to achieve that. He lacks experience, so it won’t always be easy for him, but I think he is talented and it will also be up to me and the team to lead the way.
“His arrival doesn’t really change my approach, which will be the same as last year, when we got the most out of what we had to work with at pretty much all the Grand Prix, apart from one or two.
“So, we must keep going with the same philosophy, as I really believe last year was the team’s best in terms of the way it worked, the development, the performance and in the way it managed the race weekends.
“I think that goes for me too and we just have keep going like this to try and do a little bit better than we did last year.”
His boss Franz Tost has no doubt Gasly will be able to step up to the plate.
"I reckon Pierre is one of the strongest drivers in F1 nowadays," said Tost. "Pierre's good technical understanding allows him to get the best out of the car. Pierre has been with the team for some time now, so he is familiar with all procedures and with our way of working.
"He will be a good leader, helping Yuki in his development. He knows how to win a race - as he proved last year in Monza - and if we provide him with a competitive car, I expect him to be very successful this season.”