Pierre Gasly feels ready to become AlphaTauri’s team leader in Formula 1 this year, taking on more responsibility with the arrival of new teammate Yuki Tsunoda.
Gasly claimed his first F1 victory at the Italian Grand Prix last year, helping AlphaTauri achieve the team’s highest point total.
The Frenchman will be joined in the squad this year by F2 graduate Tsunoda, who replaces Daniil Kvyat.
Although Tsunoda has completed the private race on some of the team’s older car models to level up, he will only have a day and a half in the new car before his rookie season begins.
Speaking at the launch of the new AlphaTauri AT02 car for 2021, Gasly acknowledged that Tsunoda’s arrival meant he would have to become a team leader more, but felt ready to do so.
“Of course, the arrival of Yuki means that I will have more responsibilities within the team and I am ready to take on the role of team leader,” said Gasly.
“However, he’s a very fast driver and he will help us move the team forward. I know Yuki, he’s a competitive guy and he has shown what he can do in F2, which is why he has got promoted to F1 after only a year. We will work together to achieve that.
“He lacks experience so it won’t always be easy for him, but I think he’s talented and it will also be up to me and the team to lead the way.
“His arrival doesn’t really change my approach, which will be the same as last year, when we made the most of what we had to work with at pretty much every grand prix except one. or two.
“We have to continue with the same philosophy, because I really believe that last year was the best for the team in terms of running, development, performance and management of race weekends.
“This also applies to me, and we have to continue like this to try to do a little better than last year.”
AlphaTauri F1 boss Franz Tost has expressed his confidence in Gasly to become a team manager in 2021, seeing him as one of the best drivers on the grid.
“I think Pierre is one of the strongest drivers in F1 today,” Tost said.
“Pierre’s good technical understanding allows him to get the most out of the car. Pierre has been with the team for a while now, so he knows all the procedures and our way of working.
“He will be a good leader, helping Yuki in his development. He knows how to win a race – as he proved last year at Monza – and if we provide him with a competition car, I would expect that he’s doing very well this season.
“With Pierre on Yuki’s side, we have an experienced pilot, who can help our Japanese rookie develop faster, but at the same time we can aim for good results.”