AlphaTauri have admitted that their AT03 car is "struggling massively" in cool conditions after plummeting from P1 in FP1 to P13 in FP2 during Bahrain Grand Prix practice.
Pierre Gasly was the fastest driver in the afternoon heat at the Bahrain International Circuit, putting in a lap faster than Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes.
However, as the track cooled, the AlphaTauri struggled more and more, with Gasly ending the day all the way down in 13th, as their rivals used the evening to get quicker and quicker.
Their pain was compounded late in the day as youngster Yuki Tsunoda got called up to the stewards after making contact with Charles Leclerc, damaging his front wing and being handed a reprimand.
Gasly: We need to understand what happened
“We've had two very different sessions; we topped the timings in FP1 and then in the second session we were P13, so two very contrasting outcomes," explained Gasly.
"I think, purely, for us, the hotter track conditions helped, the car really seemed to click, but [at night] we struggled massively in the cold.
"We need to look through everything and understand what happened, especially as qualifying and the race are both at night here in Bahrain.
"I think our long-run pace was slightly better than the shorter runs, but still we've got a lot of work to do to fully understand our performance in these conditions."
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AlphaTauri adamant nothing is fundamentally wrong
Providing more information on the problem facing AlphaTauri, Chief Race Engineer Jonathan Eddolls said: "We hit the ground running in FP1 but then had mixed fortunes going into FP2, where we were not able to follow the changing track conditions and both cars suffered with a lack of grip and difficult balance.
"Not only did we struggle more, it also appeared other teams made quite a step up in performance between FP1 and FP2, which emphasised the gap.
"Fundamentally there isn't anything wrong with the car, as we showed in FP1, so we have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure we understand the FP2 performance and make the relevant changes to the car.
"This is particularly important for qualifying, as the track temperature will be similar to [Friday] evening."
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