Pierre Gasly frequently labelled his 2019 campaign as a rollercoaster – comparing it to a film script – and he has described the new season as a “white sheet” with AlphaTauri.
Gasly stepped up to the front-running Red Bull Racing team last year but struggled for performance and results, and mid-season returned to Toro Rosso, for whom he raced across the end of 2017 and 2018.
Gasly emerged as one of the standout midfield drivers through the second part of the campaign and captured a shock runner-up position in Brazil, standing on the podium for the first time.
Gasly’s strong form assisted Toro Rosso in finishing sixth in the Constructors’ Championship – equaling its highest result – as it classified just six points behind manufacturer team Renault.
The Frenchman, 24, has remained with the squad this year as it morphs into AlphaTauri, rebranded to reflect Red Bull’s expanding fashion corporation.
“It was clearly very important [to have a winter reset] because last year I went through all sorts of emotion,” Gasly told MotorsportWeek.com.
“It was clearly the most intense [season] and one of the years where I’ve learned the most about myself personally, also as an athlete, and I also just needed some time with the family, the people that know me.
“I just needed to recharge and come back with a white sheet for 2020 and just be fully focused on the job. “
“It’s a completely new year, a new chapter with AlphaTauri. There are a lot of things to take from last year, positives and negatives.
“I’ve reviewed everything over the winter, through December and I’ve started the 1st of January fresh, so it’s only positives with me.
“I’m ready to build on the strong end of the year with Toro Rosso and then yeah, it’s a new start with AlphaTauri.”
Gasly has remained tight-lipped on the precise reasons for his early 2019 struggles but vowed that the lessons of 12 months ago will facilitate greater displays through 2020.
“What I think is I’m even more specific on what I need, personally rather than doing something a bit more general,” he said on preparation for the upcoming campaign, which begins with testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain on Wednesday.
“I know the areas I need to work on. I’ve only been in F1 for two years so this year I’ll have double the experience I had at the same time last year. I do feel it, I do feel I understand a bit more what I need personally as a driver from the team, from my engineers and the areas I need to work on. We need to focus a bit more on the details.”
But what can Gasly, and the rebranded AlphaTauri team, achieved in the coming 22 (or 21, depending on the situation in China) grands prix?
“You always want to do better than the past year,” he said. “Last year Toro Rosso had a really strong year, it was their best with two podiums and 80…I don’t remember exactly how many points, but quite a lot! We will try to do better this year but it’s too early to say if it’s achievable or not.”