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Pierre Gasly

Why Gasly is furious with Alpine's Suzuka team order

Pierre Gasly was left unsatisfied with the Alpine squad after feeling he was the victim of an unfair team order at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Gasly Ocon Japan
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

Pierre Gasly was left frustrated at the end of the Japanese Grand Prix after being instructed to let team-mate Esteban Ocon back through for ninth place.

Late on in the race, Ocon pulled out of the way to allow Gasly the chance to close up to Fernando Alonso, who was running in eighth place for Aston Martin.

Gasly was on fresher tyres than Ocon, with the latter making his first pit stop of the race on the opening lap, switching to the Hard compound.

The early stop meant that Ocon was able to undercut Gasly and move ahead of him on track - however, this was a decision that was pre-planned.

“It was told that [with] Esteban, they would decide to undercut me with the strategy,” Gasly told media including RacingNews365.

“They would undercut the leading car and they will let me pass so we don’t lose time.”

Ocon made his second pit stop six laps before Gasly, and was still ahead of his team-mate before the duo peeled into the pits for the final time.

During the last stint, Gasly was closing in on Ocon when the decision to swap the cars around was made on lap 47.

But when it became clear that Gasly wouldn’t progress quick enough to challenge Alonso, Alpine ordered that the cars should be swapped around again, handing Ocon ninth place on the road.

“It was never said that we would need to invert again, because I was always in front,” Gasly added.

“For the team it’s the same, ninth and 10th but it’s definitely not something I expected and not really something I understand as well. But we will talk.”

What was said on the radio?

Gasly took issue with the team order straight away, which came just before the start of the final lap.

Below is a transcript of what was discussed between Gasly and his race engineer Karel Loos.

Loos: “Instruction from the pit wall, can we swap back around please?”

Gasly: “Wait, what the ****? You’re kidding me. What are you saying? I was faster. I’m on fresher rubber. I would’ve overtaken him anyway.”

Loos: “We’ll discuss it in the office, swap around please.”

Gasly: “Are you serious? Are you being serious? I started in front, I was in front the whole race, you let him undercut me.”

Loos: “I’m not joking, instructions from the pit wall. Let’s do it next time around please, Turn 16.”

There was then radio silence for several corners.

Gasly: “Confirm that you want to swap?”

Loos: “Affirm, affirm please.”

Gasly: “Yeah, thank you. Complete joke.”

Loos: “Please Pierre.”

Gasly: “Yeah, I’m doing it.”

Loos: “You don’t have to say anything now, we’ll discuss it after.”

On the cool-down lap after the race, onboard cameras showed Gasly throwing up his hands in frustration and hitting the Halo device - suggesting he was shouting his displeasure without his team listening in.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Gasly calls on Ocon to ‘play fair’

Gasly was forced to settle for 10th place, with Alpine securing three points from the race weekend.

And should the situation arise again in the future, Gasly has called on Ocon to ensure he plays fairly.

“It was clear that with the strategy they had planned, at some point Esteban would undercut me,” Gasly asserted.

“But my race was faster, I would have overtook him anyway on the race track because I had fresher tyres.

“This was part of the strategy that was done before the race. Until then it was similar, it was just on the last lap. But anyway - it’s something we’ll talk together, I’m sure the next time around Esteban will play it fair.”

F1 2023 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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