Pierre Gasly 'could not have hoped for a better first day' after Alpine debut

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Pierre Gasly "could not have hoped for a better first day" as an Alpine driver after Formula 1's post-season test in Abu Dhabi.

Finally free from the Red Bull stable, the Frenchman completed 130 laps around Yas Marina, setting the fourth-best time late on behind a trio of Ferrari drivers.

And Gasly was immediately thrilled by his first experience with the Anglo-French team.

"It was a fantastic feeling to drive the A522 for the first time and I must say, it’s an impressive car," he stated.

"The objectives for me today were all about getting used to my new surroundings, working closely with the engineers and, generally, building up my learning in the car and getting an understanding of its characteristics.

"We completed many laps – as per our plan – and I’m already very excited to fully embed myself in the team. I’m looking forward to visiting everyone at Viry and Enstone, debriefing on this test, before working towards our objectives alongside Esteban [Ocon] for the 2023 season."

Going into detail about the transition from AlphaTauri, Gasly explained the main differences with the Alpine car.

“Adaptation went really well," he said. "Obviously I came today with an open mind because it’s the first time I’m changing environment and a completely new car.

"Initially everything felt different – steering feel, throttle pedal stroke, steepness of the pedals, the way it reacts, everything’s kind of surprising at the start.

“I can definitely spot some very good strengths from this car and the potential it has. I understand now why they finished fourth in the teams’ championship and it all makes sense to me. So I’m very excited about what’s coming.

“So far I’ve been very pleased with this first interaction with the guys and from today could not have hoped for a better first day with Alpine.”

Gasly AD Test 2

Gasly is hoping the move to Alpine can reinvigorate his career after a difficult last season at AlphaTauri, with the Faenza-based team finishing a lowly ninth in the Constructors' standings.

And after his first outing, the one-time race winner's expectations are certainly high.

“I had a much more pleasant year in 2021 than 2022 and that’s purely the fact I haven’t had the competitiveness and the speed to really show much,” he said.

“So I really believe this team is a fresh start for me and an opportunity to make something amazing together. They have had their best season so far since they came back, I think they are on a trajectory that is improving season after season.

“From what I’ve seen today, from what they have shown the whole season, I’m definitely confident what we can achieve together next year can be very impressive. I’m very confident from what I’ve seen today there’s potential to achieve fantastic results.”