Jun.9 (GMM) Pierre Gasly says he just needs time to get up to full speed at Alpine.
The 27-year-old Frenchman had spent all six of his seasons in Formula 1 with Red Bull-owned teams – but for 2023, he was signed as Fernando Alonso’s replacement.
He admits that he’s not yet quite on the pace of teammate Esteban Ocon.
“I don’t want to give too many details but there are differences in the steering, the response of the engine, the gear changes, the energy recovery, the concept of the chassis. It’s all different from what I was used to,” he told El Mundo Deportivo newspaper.
“From the outside, it seems that F1 cars all drive the same – even my friends say so. But driving each one makes you realise how different they are.
“It’s a big change,” Gasly added.
However, he thinks all those difference between Red Bull cars and his new Renault-owned Alpine will not ultimately limit his potential.
“I don’t think so. It just takes time to refresh your references and comparisons,” he said.
“Obviously what also needs time is working with the team, understanding what I want from the car and what answers I need while driving. There are many things that we build race by race and they understand more of my driving style.
“It’s not something that happens from one race to the next.”
What isn’t a problem, Gasly insists, is his relationship with fellow Frenchman Ocon – even though many in the paddock believe the pair despise one another.
“We have known each other since we were nine years old. So that’s 18 years. I haven’t known many people for that long,” Gasly insisted.
“I know him very well. We’ve had our ups and downs, everyone knows that, but this season has been pretty straightforward. I want the best for the team and he does too.
“It has been quite easy for us to work together,” he added.
Gasly also played down the reported extent of Alpine’s arguable step backwards since losing Alonso, made worse by critical comments made by CEO Laurent Rossi.
“I think the disadvantage compared to Mercedes and Ferrari is not that great,” he said. “We saw it in Monaco – we did better than them.
“In Miami they (Ferrari) were unreachable but then they suffered after that. So it depends on the track.
“But I do think that Aston (Martin) is consistently the second car everywhere. Ferrari, Mercedes and we are in the same area.”