Pierre Gasly

Gasly: We don’t have the pace to fight

Pierre Gasly

Toro Rosso are in a $10-million battle for sixth place in the 2017 Formula 1 Constructors’ World Championship but they have a torrid few races of late and in Abu Dhabi, things have gone from bad to worse and inevitably tensions are high in the team’s pit garage according to Pierre Gasly.

The Red Bull junior team are sixth in the standings but only four points ahead of Renault and six ahead of Haas. However, they are on the back foot at the season finale Abu Dhabi Grand Prix due to a below-par qualifying for both drivers.

Gasly, who was drafted into the team at the Malaysian Grand Prix and has yet to score a point, qualified 17th at Yas Marina Circuit while teammate Brendon Hartley was slowest of all in 20th.

Speaking to reporters after qualifying, Gasly said, “Compared to Brendon, I managed to do a good lap so this is the only positive, but that’s not the target.”

“This weekend we need to keep the sixth position and at the moment it’s out of our hands really, because we don’t have the pace to fight. It’s a bit annoying to look at things without being able to really have an impact on it.”

Renault powered Toro Rosso have gone off the boil in the last five races, only scoring one point, while Renault and Haas have closed the gap, resulting in the Abu Dhabi showdown for sixth.

To a large extent, Toro Rosso have been architects of the situation in which they find themselves right now. First they sidelined team regular Daniil Kvyat after the Singapore Grand Prix, then gave the Russian a reprieve for the United States Grand Prix before dismissing him from the organisation.

At the same time, behind-the-scenes, Renault and Red Bull negotiated a deal which resulted in Carlos Sainz being loaned to the French team after the Japanese Grand Prix. A strange call since the Spaniard had scored the bulk of Toro Rosso’s points prior to his move to Renault.

Needless to say the Faenza based outfit are now feeling the pressure, as Gasly revealed, “At the moment I see Franz [Tost] is really stressed, as much as we are, because in the end if we want to be competitive next year, it’s really important to keep this sixth position, because it’ll have an impact on the development.”

“It’s a bit frustrating not to be a bit further up the grid, to be fighting properly. Starting from 17th, it’s difficult to do something, but for sure we’ll try everything.”

“Hopefully the Force India will be fast enough. I think at the moment the only thing we can do is to pray tomorrow morning for Hulkenberg to finish eighth.”

“In terms of downforce, we are not where we would like to be. And we’re not competitive in the corners and neither down the straights. There are many areas we need to improve, but when you put this problem, plus this one, plus this one, at the end the gap is pretty big, so it’s tough,” added Gasly.

Teammate and fellow rookie Hartley, who has been dogged by technical woes and handed grid penalties for all four races he has competed in, was also frustrated, “We didn’t have a lot to lose so we’ve been also throwing a lot of changes at the car, because we knew we had a 10-place grid penalty, so we’ve been desperate to find some performance somewhere.”

“Didn’t work out in qualifying, I didn’t get a lap together at all. A bit disappointed personally, I didn’t do a good job. We seem to be lacking pace everywhere. The long run, we’re in the mix with the Haas and the Sauber, but points I think are going to be a tough ask,” added Hartley who recently was crowned WEC world champion with Porsche.