Australian GP: Preview - AlphaTauri


Pierre Gasly: "It was a shame we could not score points with both cars in Saudi, and it was not at all a straightforward weekend for the team. But from my side we should look at the positive aspects: a second Q3 in a row and eighth on the grid, which is proof we have a car with which we can fight for points. We have to make sure we can capitalise on any opportunity we get as the battle between the teams is very intense already this year with two more teams than last year now seeming able to fight in the midfield.

"After two races we can already say that the new Regulations have succeeded in making overtaking easier than before. It's a very good thing that you can generally follow another car more closely and we saw the result of that with nice battles through the field, I think that's a trend that will continue throughout the season. As for the tyres, the bigger ones do not seem to have changed much compared to the old ones, from what we can see so far. It's a bit complicated to understand, because in Bahrain there were a lot more pit stops than we expected, while in Saudi it was just a one stopper. So, I think it's a bit too early to get a clear picture of tyre behaviour.

"The Albert Park track layout in Melbourne has been changed significantly and very few corners are the same as before, so it will be slightly new for everyone. It seems much faster than before because of the many corners that have been widened and opened up so there are more straight sections. We will need a car that works efficiently and is quick down the straights but still keeps enough downforce for the corners.

"Personally, I'm really happy to be racing here again. The last time I was there was 2020, when it was the first race to be cancelled because of Covid, so we haven't raced in Melbourne since 2019. It's a track I like a lot and the same goes for the country. The only downside is having to spend 48 hours in a plane in the space of a week! It's incredible to be going back there. I'm looking forward to it."

Yuki Tsunoda: "The Saudi Arabian weekend was a disappointing one for me, as I was unable to qualify or race. But my performance in free practice alongside the way Pierre performed in Qualifying and the race is a positive sign. Our pace was definitely better than in the first round in Bahrain and we were competitive right from the start of FP1. I built up my confidence and it was just a shame what happened after that. Overall, I feel positive and I'm looking forward to Australia.

"After two race weekends, we are beginning to see the effect of the new Technical Regulations. It is definitely easier to follow someone in front of you with these new cars. But with the tyres, I felt it was easier to overheat them than before, which means you still want to overtake as soon as possible, before the tyres get too much heat in them.

"As we develop our car, we will be looking for more downforce without sacrificing top end speed. The most important thing at this point is that our understanding of the car and what we are learning about it is getting better and better, even if we have a long way to go. The team has a clear picture of where we need to improve. Bahrain and Saudi were two very different tracks and hopefully we can perform even better in Australia, to fight at the front of the midfield.

"The Melbourne circuit will be completely new for me, and I've driven it just once on the simulator. The layout has changed from previous years and will make for a faster track. I will take my usual approach with a new circuit and build up my speed over the free practice sessions. I've been to Australia once, when I was 12 years old: it was a school trip to the Gold Coast, nowhere near Melbourne. I really liked the country and the atmosphere, and I still remember the first time I ate Aussie beef. I thought the taste was really good so I'm looking forward to doing that again. Food is always my first priority in a new country!"

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Published: 06/04/2022
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