French driver Gasly finished fourth on the road in a chaotic rain-hit race at Zandvoort but a pitlane speeding penalty for Sergio Perez bumped him up to third. The result marks Alpine’s second top-three classification in as many rounds, with Gasly also ranking third in the Belgian sprint race.
This brace of headline results follows immediately after team principal Otmar Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane – an Enstone veteran of 34 years – parted company following differences of opinion with senior management at owner Renault over the squad’s direction. Chief technical officer Pat Fry is also off to Williams.
In addition, Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi was moved aside to work on “special projects”, with former FIA staffer Bruno Famin taking over the motorsport operation alongside his ongoing role leading the Viry-based F1 engine programme.
He told French broadcaster Canal+: “We need to keep working, keep improving the car and work this way until the end of the year. I’m glad to see that things are falling into place within the team, we’re learning to work better and better together. It’s going in the right direction, and we proved it again today.”
Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Having started 12th, Gasly’s strong result was predicated on pitting for intermediate tyres at the end of the opening lap in response to a shower as the lights went out. The majority of the grid took longer to respond, pitting at the end of the second tour.
Gasly added he “immediately understood” what was at stake at the time of the first cloud burst in a race that was later red flagged for 43 minutes owing to another downpour.
He said: “We had to make extremely important decisions. Coming out of the last corner on lap one, I immediately understood that there was a big opportunity for us, so I asked the team to pit straightaway, and it paid off.
“Then, we had a car that worked well today; I managed to fight with the Ferrari, to stay rather close to Alonso.”
He added: “Many things happened, but you had to stay calm. I am really happy with the team’s work and what they achieved.”
Additional reporting by Ben Vinel