AlphaTauri can aim for “big points” in upcoming Formula 1 rounds, according to Pierre Gasly, following its display in Bahrain.
Gasly qualified fifth, behind only Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the Mercedes drivers, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, though his race prospects were wrecked after clipping McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo early on.
AlphaTauri’s pace was underlined by rookie Yuki Tsunoda, who recovered from a poor first lap to log ninth place, scoring points on his debut.
“In terms of performance and speed, it was very encouraging for the rest of the season,” said Gasly on the AT02.
“From what we saw in Bahrain, it seems we have a package that will allow us to fight for the big points and there is no reason for that not to be the case for the coming races.
“One example of the team’s confidence was the decision to tackle Q2 at Sakhir on the Medium tyre as apart from us, there was only the two Mercedes and Max Verstappen who did it.
“It was a risk, but it proves our belief in our car and our performance level. Now I hope we will be able to do that again at other circuits.”
AlphaTauri is returning to home territory this weekend with the Imola circuit, venue for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, located just 15km from its factory.
The squad performed strongly at last November’s Imola event as Gasly qualified on the second row of the grid before Daniil Kvyat stormed to fourth in the race.
AlphaTauri carried out its filming day at Imola earlier this year and also undertook private running in old-spec machinery with both Gasly and rookie Tsunoda.
“It is one of my favourite circuits, I love it,” said Gasly. “It is technical with a lot of fast corners which allows you to get into a rhythm and you are always busy as it is quite twisty.
“Last year at this track I got my best ever qualifying with the team, on the second row. Unfortunately, that race ended early with a problem while I was lying fifth, but it was a very good weekend up until then, so now I’m keen to get back there and make up for last year’s disappointment.
“The team has worked hard since the first race, as there are still areas where we can improve, even if we are clearly on the pace at the moment.
“But this early in the season, we can expect everyone to make progress as they get to understand their cars better and how to optimise them. So, we have to work hard to keep moving forward.”