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Gasly: Hoping AphaTauri can fight at the very front

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Pierre Gasly has been one of the standout drivers of the past two seasons, the AlphaTauri driver more often than not delivering beyond expectations, and aims to take his strong form over to the new season.

The Frenchman is filled with hope that the 2022 Formula 1 cars will allow for closer racing and more winners, he among them of course.

One of the highs of his remarkable turnaround, from Red Bull reject, was his famous maiden win at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix a testament to his talent and tenacity, plus a well-deserved prize to crown Gasly’s inspirational comeback.

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Prior to that it had not been an easy journey, the Frenchman was promoted from Toro Rosso to replaced out of favour Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bull-owned team for the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix.

At the end of 2018, Daniel Ricciardo decided the team was not big enough for him and Max Verstappen who was beginning his storming rise to the top of the F1 pecking order.

The defection to Renault by the Australian, an F1 winner they backed through their driver programme, caught the Bulls by surprise, so driver boss Helmut Marko turned to Gasly to step up. But that proved a disaster from the first test session. He never recovered as Verstappen was simply on another level. That adventure lasted 12 races.

Gasly was demoted back to Toro Rosso, his career in tatters as history will show

Back in the familiar surrounds of Toro Rosso, under Franz Tost’s expert eye, Gasly was not to be undone by the setback that would have broken the resolve of most, he bounced back to what we have today, a driver making a big call to big teams to take note.

Until his phone rings he is in a good place; speaking on the occasion of the launch of the AlphaTauri AT03 F1 for the 2022 season, Gasly said: “I will be trying to build on the run I had of very good results and to continue to be on top of my game with the car I have.

“I really hope that this is a year when I can fight at the very front, to finish regularly in the top five and even higher if the car is good enough for that.

“Last year we came very close to fifth place in the constructors’ [F1 championship] and it would be super to achieve that this year. It’s too early to say if that will be possible but I will always give it my best shot and get the most out of our car.”

The hope is that teams like AlphaTauri can shake things up and score points regularly, even podiums and wins

That car will be best of the rest at best, the team simply does not have the budget to compete with Red Bull let alone the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari.

But that could change should they be able to capitalise on what is expected to be a far more level playing field in 2022, the new rules supposedly closing the gap between the big teams and the smaller teams. only time will tell.

Meanwhile, Gasly is upbeat about the new era: “It’s a fresh start for all the teams, starting pretty much from zero as we are really looking at a clean sheet of paper scenario. It will be a big challenge for the teams to work out how to build the best car possible to comply with the new regulations.

“I hope that it works really well for us. I have no doubts about our team’s abilities and, as of now, they are quite pleased with the work they have done.

“Like everyone, they’ve been working on it for many months now, but it’s difficult to have an idea of what we can expect until the car goes out on track in Barcelona for the first time. Then we will get an idea of how the car behaves and how we look compared to the others. I’m sure this season will be full of surprises.

“Mentally I have prepared myself to deal with any possible scenario and personally, I will be pushing the team to always do its best,” added Gasly.

Tost: Pierre is a fantastic driver

For now, Gasly is a big fish in the AlphaTauri pond, admired and appreciated by all, but that has not spilled over to the driver decision-maker Marko who ignored Gasly’s strong 2020 form to sign up veteran Sergio Perez from outside the team’s driver programme.

That was a blow to Pierre’s aspirations to return to partner Verstappen. While he has made a case for big teams to take notice, the ones that matter are well stocked with drivers and his best hope is Perez failing in his second season with Red Bull.

One of his biggest fans is AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost who said of his driver: “Pierre is a fantastic driver and if we provide him with a really good car, he has shown he is able to win races and finish on the podium In his leading role,

“Pierre has already showed that he can deliver great results, so I expect a lot from both drivers this year,” said Tost who worked with the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen during their journey to the top through Toro Rosso.