AlphaTauri boss Franz Toast explained the problem on Pierre Gasly’s car, praised Daniil Kvyat and talked about plans for Yuki Tsunoda’s tests this week.
Q: You probably have conflicting emotions after yesterday’s race: it started unsuccessfully, but in the end the team achieved an excellent result. What was the problem with Pierre’s car? When did she appear?
Franz Toast: After four or five laps of the race, we saw a drop in coolant pressure and decided to call Pierre into the pits, because we did not want to risk the power plant. Now I know that the weld on the radiator has collapsed.
Question: Did it start on the formation circle?
Franz Toast: Yes, the team noticed a problem. We thought we had solved the problem before starting, but when a small part breaks, it can be difficult to fix it quickly.
Question: It is difficult for Pierre to come to terms with the retirement, especially since before that his weekend was going great …
Franz Toast: Yes, the weekend was going well for him. He performed well in qualifying, finishing fourth. In the race, he started well, caught up with Hamilton, but he ousted him. Pierre had to take his foot off the gas pedal, but he finished the first lap in fifth. He did a fantastic job.
Q: In that corner, Lewis drove wide, defending the position. As a result, Daniel Riccardo got a chance to overtake Pierre …
Franz Toast: Yes, that’s right.
Q: Did you talk to Pierre after the race? Is he upset about what happened?
Franz Toast: We had a briefing after the race. Of course, Pierre is upset – like all of us, because he could earn a lot of points.
Question At that moment it seemed that you could lose the race, but in the last laps Daniil Kvyat got back. Departure of the safety car played into your hands.
Franz Toast: We made the right decision. I would not say that we were lucky, because the other teams could have done the same. Some did so, others did not. We took advantage of the situation, because Daniel played three positions: before the safety car he was seventh, and after that he moved up to fourth. He overtook Perez, Leclerc and Elbon and finished fourth, directly behind Riccardo. If the race continued for a few more laps, he might have a chance to overtake Daniel.
Question: Daniel overtook Charles beautifully – along the outer radius, using the slipstream …
Franz Toast: Yes, fantastic overtaking!
Question: What do you think about Kvyat’s performance? Sergio tried to repeat his overtaking, but could not recoup …
Franz Toast: Daniel had a good qualification. He likes this track, he is very happy with the car and performed well.
Q: You won a few points against Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. Will this give you confidence in the successful end of the season?
Franz Toast: We don’t think about fighting Ferrari – the team is focused on their work. Let’s see what the final result will be.
Q: This week, Yuki Tsunoda’s tests will take place in Imola. What do you expect from him?
Franz Toast: He needs to get comfortable in a Formula 1 car, because in Imola he will sit behind the wheel for the first time. Here is a difficult track. I will instruct him on what to do. We want him to travel 300 km in order to get permission from the FIA for a possible participation in the first training session in Bahrain or Abu Dhabi – we’ll see. It all depends on his position in Formula 2. If at the end of the season he is in the top four, he will receive a super license. If he finishes the season in fifth place, then he needs to do two workouts to get points.
Q: You have a lot of contenders for second place in AlphaTauri: Yuki Tsunoda, Daniil Kvyat, who defends his position well. Perhaps Alexander Albon will return to you …
Franz Toast: It is better to have several applicants than none.
Question: When will you make your decision?
Franz Toast: I think soon. This decision is made at Red Bull. We’ll see.
Q: Will this happen before the end of the season? Should the riders have time to decide on plans for the next season if they are left without a contract?
Franz Toast: We are in no hurry. It’s good if this happens before the end of the season. Much depends on the position of Yuki Tsunoda in Formula 2 – this is a very important factor.
Q: But you are not obliged to invite him just because of the collaboration with Honda. Do you appreciate his merits …
Franz Toast: It all depends only on its results. The decision on the contract with this or that driver has nothing to do with sponsors – this has never been the case either in Toro Rosso or in AlphaTauri. We must be sure that the driver has the necessary abilities and skills to succeed in Formula 1: although we have a so-called “sister team”, Red Bull expects good results from us.
Question: In two weeks we will return to Turkey for the first time since 2011. What are your expectations from this weekend? Will this track fit your car?
Franz Toast: I like that this year we are coming to new tracks. Turkey has a very difficult track with a lot of load on the tires, so you have to be careful. As you know, there are very fast and protracted turns, the temperature this weekend is relatively low, rain is possible. We’ll see. The weekend can be difficult … In addition, I do not know in what condition the track is now – I have not seen it for nine years. This is a new challenge for all of us.
Q: Judging by your performances on the new tracks this year, can you handle him?
Franz Toast: It all depends on the situation. Now we have a pretty fast car: we showed an excellent pace in Spa and Monza, we performed superbly at the Nurburgring, where Pierre finished sixth. Then we had good weekends in Portimao and Imola. All of these tracks have different characteristics. I’m sure the car will be fast in Istanbul, but first you have to get there. I can say more after Friday workouts