AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly heads to Azerbaijan this week determined to turn around his fortunes at a venue that has never benefitted the Frenchman.
Gasly has raced twice in Baku where he finished 12th in 2018 with Toro Rosso and retired a year later with Red Bull.
But the AlphaTauri’s form this season and a P6 performance on race day in Monaco augur well for a reversal of his luck next weekend.
“I am satisfied, as it was important for the team to find our true performance level again and to have a clean weekend, which is complicated in Monaco as it’s a tricky circuit,” commented Gasly.
“But we managed it and that delivered our best result of the year so far. It was also really cool to race with fans again at the track, especially as there were many French people there as it was Monaco, so I felt more support than usual.
“It was a real pleasure to interact a bit with fans, even if was not yet a full-size crowd.”
Unfortunately, Baku has closed its gates to fans for this year’s race. But empty grandstands won’t diminish Gasly’s motivation to bag more points for himself and his team next weekend.
“I have spent some time in the simulator in the UK and then I headed off to Baku via Dubai,” he said. “It’s a lot of travelling but it’s all for a good cause because we are heading for a very busy part of the season.
“I’d say Baku is a really unusual track and it has something in common with Monaco, being a street circuit in the centre of a town, so it’s not a normal sort of track.
“That means you have to set up the car a bit differently. You run with much lower downforce than in Monaco, and the corners are much slower in Baku, but it is similar in terms of grip and in some other characteristics, and we will be using the C5 softest tyres again.
“The lack of surface grip and the low downforce means it is not a straightforward challenge and it is difficult to find the best set up for the car with the long straight that means the tyres and brakes lose temperature a lot and there are other factors to take into account to get everything out of the car over one lap and also in the race.
“I quite like the circuit,” he added. “I finished second in GP2 a few years ago but in F1, although I was quite competitive, I have always had some bad luck, but I plan to change that this week.
“I hope we will be able to perform at a similar or even better level than in Monaco.”