Pierre Gasly admitted to feeling “emotional” after getting his first run out as an Alpine driver at the post-season test in Abu Dhabi – revealing the differences he found driving the A522 for the first time compared to the AlphaTauri.
Gasly is participating in the tire test for Alpine this week as he prepares to partner compatriot Esteban Ocon next season, with the one-time race winner admitting that while it felt “very special” to drive for his new team, he still has “quite a lot to discover”.
“Well, it’s been really good,” said Gasly when asked how his first time going behind the wheel of an Alpine had been. “First feel with this Alpine car. First time out on track with this car, I must say it’s been an extremely smooth morning.
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“Very good adaptation and obviously it feels very different at the beginning – everything, the [seating] position, the brake pedals, throttle pedals, the way the steering feels etcetera, so there was quite a lot to discover. But I must say it felt very good and we managed to run through the whole program, so really pleased.”
He added: “It was definitely emotional to be in this Alpine car. Not wearing the full suit yet, I’m still running with the unbranded one but to be out on track with the Alpine and kick off… in my mind I am already starting the 2023 season, already working for next year. It was definitely very special.”
After five and a half seasons with AlphaTauri – with a brief 12-race detour to Red Bull at the start of the 2019 season – Gasly says he is happy to have a “head start” on his preparations for next season as he looks to adapt to his new surroundings.
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“I think it’s really important [to get out on track] as soon as you can start,” Gasly said. “It’s a lot of processes, understanding between the engineers and myself and we are still learning a lot about each other. We are just starting but I think it’s definitely a head start compared to if we would have needed to wait until next year.
“I must say the car feels definitely good as they have shown this season and it’s definitely promising. Really happy with the work so far, we will do some more and then after the winter we will have plenty of time to get ready for next season.”