Pierre Gasly is confident that Alpine can pull off a competitive Formula 1 season opener in Bahrain, with further upgrades planned for the already ‘solid’ A523.
Alpine ran a mellow pre-season test, deciding not to use the softest compound tyres. The team opted for longer runs and higher fuel loads which meant that neither Gasly nor Esteban Ocon appeared at the top of the timesheets throughout the entire three days.
Despite that, Gasly believes the team can fight their way up the order in the first race weekend of the season at the Bahrain International Circuit, taking advantage of Bahrain’s multiple overtaking spots and aiming for a points finish.
“I would say, overall, the test went well for the team,” Gasly said.
“I jumped out of the car on Saturday afternoon feeling pretty happy with the work we achieved during the week and with confidence that we have a solid car.
“I feel right at home at this team, and it’s been great to get comfortable straight away.”
Adding to the team’s confidence, Alpine Technical Director Matt Harman revealed on Tuesday that the team are set to bring an upgrade package to Bahrain and Gasly hints that fresh upgrades are already planned for future rounds.
“We’re still building up to our maximum level and I know we have some good upgrades on the way, which, as a driver, is great to hear.
“We will see where we are this weekend relative to our competitors but, for now, I’m pleased with where we’re at heading into the first race.”
The Enstone-based team are on the hunt for a break into the top three after finishing fourth in the constructor standings in 2022. The A523 represents a noteworthy evolution for the 2023 car that they hope will fill the mammoth 342-point gap between them and third-placed Mercedes last season.
“We all know the [Bahrain International] circuit pretty well, especially as we all completed close to 200 laps here last weekend!
“What I like about Bahrain is that there is more than one overtaking spot, so we know we have a chance to fight and make up positions in the race.
“Hopefully we can put on a good show for the fans this weekend and, from an Alpine point of view, the aim is to qualify up the order and then have a strong race with points in the bag.”