Pierre Gasly has said he and teammate Yuki Tsunoda are prepared for the first race of the season after a successful run during pre-season testing in Bahrain last week.
“I can’t wait to go racing,” he said.
“It’s the first time we start the season at the same track where we had three days of testing just a short time ago, which is like having extra free practice sessions.
“It means we have a good idea of what we need for this Sakhir track.”
After completing more laps than any other team from March 12-14, the 25-year-old said “there has been a lot of technological progress” across the board.
“The aim of the test was to understand our new car, particularly the new aero package in order to get the most out of it during the season.
“I’d say we had the best ever pre-season test since I joined this team: we did more laps than any other team and it was really productive.
“Actually, looking at all the teams, the level of performance and reliability achieved in Formula 1 is really impressive, if you compare it to winter testing from just a few years ago, when it was normal for everyone to have quite a few problems.
“There has been a lot of technological progress.”
The AlphaTauri team didn’t run into any technical or mechanical issues during testing with Gasly saying his first laps in the AT02 gave him “a good feeling with the car”, and said, “there are a lot of positives to take away from the test”.
Speaking about the impact of the new regulations on the team, he said:
“You don’t feel a difference in terms of how the car handles and behaves and I’d say it’s fairly similar to what we experienced last year – a bit worse in some places, a bit better in others.
“The overall balance is similar, it’s just there’s less grip so you are slower through the corners. But it’s not a big difference.
“Apart from that, the first time we tested the car it gave us a baseline that worked straight away.
“We were able to work on fine-tuning in some corners and now it’s down to the engineers working mainly in the wind tunnel to push to try and find more downforce through the year.”
Praising his new teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, who will make his competitive debut in just 6 days at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Gasly said:
“From a team point of view, it’s important to have two drivers who can deliver and Yuki did a good job at the test, doing a lot of laps, which is a good sign.
“He made no mistakes and did everything that was asked of him.
“Both of us are ready to attack the season.”