Gasly admits Alpine ‘doesn’t look great’ – urges patience

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Pierre Gasly offered a blunt assessment of Alpine’s early form in pre-season testing in Bahrain, admitting that the team’s new A524 “isn’t looking great”.

Alpine concluded this week’s preparations at Sakhir with Gasly and teammate Esteban Ocon languishing in the lower tier of the field with the pair setting the 16th and 17th fastest times overall.

While not the slowest on the track, their distance from the frontrunners underscores the significant ground Alpine needs to cover.

The team’s early struggle comes after its bold decision to drastically overhaul the concept of its contender. While aware of the inherent risks and potential need for optimization, the lack of immediate competitiveness cannot be ignored.

“To be fair I haven't really focussed on others because there's been so much going on our side," Gasly told Sky TV.

"I don't think we look great. But at the same time, we still have a couple of days to really understand everything we've done.

"We've put the car upside down, done a lot of tests. So hopefully, some analysis and answers will bring us some more performance. And then, we'll find out, no one will hide any more next Friday.

"But I think we'll have to be patient, even if it's not what we like as drivers, but clearly it might take some time before we really unlock the performance we want from that car."

Gasly admitted that the team will likely be facing a challenging opening round next week in Bahrain.

"It's not going to be an easy first race," he said. "We're not going to start from where we would have liked. But at the same time, we've got to give ourselves some time to understand that new car concept that we have.

"The good thing is we've identified very clearly what we've got to work on as a team. Now, whether we're able to fix it with car setup or not, for the first few races of the season, time will tell, but for sure there'll be an aggressive plan of upgrades which we will need to close the gap."

As Alpine’s engineers sift through the data collected this week in testing, Gasly underscored the importance of gaining a clear understanding of the A524’s issues.

"It has been very clear with Esteban, we had very similar feedback straight away," he said.

"And then yes, it's all about analysing whether we can fix these issues with set-up ahead of next week, or whether we need bigger upgrades to counter these couple of issues which we can identify already.

"So yeah, a lot of work. Still, it's only three days of testing, it flew by. We'll try to put the car in the best place possible for next week."

Unsurprisingly, Gasly steered clear of offering a prediction for next week’s curtain raiser in Bahrain.

"We're not at the top, that's one thing we know,” he said. “But then I don't want to make any conclusion now, as I said, it's a new car, there's a lot to understand, there is a lot of performance that we will have to find.

"But right now to make a claim or any conclusion after this much running will not be fair. We'll have to work over the next few days. And hopefully, we'll have a better and more complete car for next week."

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