Some drivers find themselves on the top step of the podium so often that it is no longer an issue. Others must cherish the moment when it passes. These moments of glory, however ephemeral, then become a source of perpetual motivation. Talk to Pierre Gasly.
Year: 2020. Location: Monza, Italy. Stable: AlphaTauri.
Pierre Gasly’s blue eyes light up. His lips curve into a slight smile. This is the effect caused by the evocation of his last, and only, victory in Formula 1.
“I remember everything,” said the 27-year-old driver in an interview with La Presse on Thursday at Alpine headquarters. “It’s so emotional. It’s something you don’t forget. »
In this sport where there is almost a total lack of parity, many pilots will never experience the euphoria of shaking a bottle of champagne in front of a compact crowd. For example, on the current grid, only ten of the twenty athletes have experienced it.
On Pierre Gasly’s Instagram page, the pinned images at the top show him with the trophy at the end of his arms. If this temporary moment of glory dates from three years ago, it still serves as a daily motivation to this day.
“Even on my phone, I have the photo of the Monza podium,” the Rouen, Normandy native tells us.
In front of our astonishment, he adds: “It’s motivating! For me, it was such a strong moment, so good, so motivating. »
That’s the goal, yes. And we can guess that it was with this desire to one day return to victory that Gasly decided, at the end of the 2022 season, to leave AlphaTauri and the Red Bull industry to join Alpine.
If Alpine’s results have not lived up to expectations at the start of the season, Pierre Gasly and his teammate, Esteban Ocon, can be happy with their most recent results. Slowly but surely the team is making progress in its quest to compete with leaders Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari.
Gasly is still “really happy” with his team change. It must be said that his future within the Red Bull industry was limited by the signing of Sergio Pérez until 2024.
“I’ve embarked on a new project that I strongly believe in,” he says. I believe that there is enormous potential on the part of the team which is not necessarily fully exploited at the moment. »
Ultimately, it is still too early to judge the performance of the French driver in his new team. The reason is simple: who says team change says new environment, new colleagues, new ways of communicating and working.
“It really is a world I have to get used to. For me, it requires more energy than before, in an environment that I knew perfectly, with people that I knew perfectly. »
The relationship between Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, both natives of Normandy, was often discussed in the world of F1 at the start of the season. To make a long story short, the two team members grew up together in karting. Their friendly relationship has however become complicated, even tarnished over time.
The fact remains that the two drivers find themselves today within the same team, at the top of their sport, and that they must join forces to improve their car. Ocon, met a little earlier Thursday during a press scrum, also recalled an important element: “When we are the two pilots 100% involved in what we have to do, inevitably, it has more weight for the team, so they prioritize those things. »
The two likeable Frenchmen have been “very connected on a lot of things lately,” says Ocon. Words supported by Gasly a little later.
“We’re not best friends and that doesn’t stop us from working together at all,” he said.
Internal competition is part of sport. Each team in the paddock presents two drivers who, inevitably, are more adversaries than teammates. So goes F1.
In Monaco, Gasly saw Ocon give Alpine a first podium since 2021. Although he is 10 points behind his team-mate in the drivers’ championship, Gasly prefers to look ahead rather than behind.
“I just joined the team. I see that things are falling into place weekend after weekend, that it is progressing, that there is clearly potential and that is what matters most to me. »
As for the results, they will come, he assures us.
And then, who knows, maybe he will be able to change his wallpaper photo to one of these four…