Pierre Gasly admits that he is happy to see his name being linked with other teams on the Formula 1 grid, insisting he is now a “more complete driver”.
Gasly stock was low after a disappointing spell at Red Bull in the first half of the 2019 season, which saw him demoted back to Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri).
The Frenchman has remained at the Faenza-based squad ever since, but has displayed an improved run of form and even won his maiden race at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.
Gasly will remain at AlphaTauri next year, however his contract at the team expires at the end of the 2023 campaign.
Speaking to the Italian version of Motorsport.com, Gasly asserts that he is now a much stronger driver than he was during his stint at Red Bull.
“I’m pleased about that,” he said, regarding being linked with other teams on the grid. “You know, after only one season in Formula 1 I was promoted to Red Bull, and at that time they gave me a great opportunity because they saw my potential.
“When I think back on it now, after five years in Formula 1, I am definitely a more complete driver.
“I’m much more experienced, I’m more efficient in working with the team, I know exactly what I want from the car, and my feedback is much clearer. You grow and you learn.”
Gasly enjoyed a strong 2021 with AlphaTauri, scoring 110 points across the season.
However, over halfway through the current campaign, the picture looks much different, with the 26-year-old having just 16 points to his name.
Gasly says that steps forward made by other teams and AlphaTauri’s drop in qualifying performance has led to it slipping backward.
“I think it’s very simple, there are two reasons,” he said. “The first is related to the loss of competitiveness in qualifying, a front on which we were doing very, very well last year.
“I was constantly in Q3. In Q1 I only needed one set of tyres to get through the cut-off. We are not competitive enough in qualifying and this makes for uphill races.
“The second is related to the step forward made by our direct opponents, such as Alfa Romeo, Alpine, and even Haas.
“Last year we were playing for the top positions among the mid-ranking teams, I don’t know how many times I qualified alongside Charles [Leclerc].”