Alpine will “do some things differently” to prevent a repeat of Gasly’s penalties in Barcelona

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Two separate 3-place grid penalties for impeding during qualifying in Barcelona saw Pierre Gasly start the Spanish Grand Prix from P10 instead of his impressive P4 qualifying position. Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer has said changes will be made in communication to prevent any further penalties going forward.

Pierre Gasly at the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix
Photo credit: Alpine F1 Team

A very impressive qualifying performance from Alpine’s Pierre Gasly saw him tantalisingly close to a P4 start for the Spanish Grand Prix last time out in Barcelona. His efforts were ultimately marred by two separate 3 place grid drop penalties as the stewards deemed he had unnecessarily impeded both Max Verstappen of Red Bull as well as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

His grid drop which saw him eventually come home to score a single point in P10 despite dropping 4 places at the beginning of the Grand Prix. His difficult race raised the question, ‘could more have been done to warn him of the approaching cars during qualifying?’.

“It’s significantly different than running 14th than running fourth.”

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer admits Gasly’s Spanish Grand Prix could have played out very differently had he not been hit by the penalties, hinting that the team’s pace would have allowed Gasly to defend his position towards the front of the grid.

“Had he actually started fourth and ran fourth instead of starting where he did and then being pushed wide and ended up 14th after lap one, it’s significantly different than running 14th than running fourth. So we have to make sure that when we qualify that high, we can actually race there.”

Szafnauer also noted that the team sat down in the days following the Spanish Grand Prix to discuss the incident with both Gasly as well as his engineering team with the goal of finding a solution and preventing a repeat situation in the future.

“So we can get a little bit better, because it was unfortunate.”

Szafnauer says changes will be made regarding how and when Gasly receives information from the team during a session. He also suggests the incident may be down to Gasly still settling into the team and becoming familiar with his engineering team having only joined ahead of this season.

“Yeah, so we met in between Spain and [Canada] with Pierre and his engineering team.” Szafnauer said. “ We met for about an hour and a half to discuss communication strategy, how we communicate with him, the information that he needs, the timing of the information that he gets, what he does with that information, just so we can get a little bit better, because it was unfortunate.

“We will do some things differently and especially on Pierre’s side. Esteban’s more used to his engineering team because he’s been with us for a lot longer.”