Pierre Gasly lost his best lap time in Q1 due to a track restrictions violation at the Hungaroring, which he has claimed was quite debatable.
AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly has disclosed that, after receiving a track limits penalty at the Hungaroring, he spoke with F1 Race Directors Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas for a considerable amount of time.
The AlphaTauri driver failed to pass the first qualifying test because his best lap time in Q1 was taken away when it was determined that he had breached track limits at Turn 5.
The identical corner was where Sergio Perez also lost a lap time in Q2, but the FIA reassessed his performance after seeing a replay that appeared to show that he was partially outside the white line. The Mexican was then granted his time back, but he still didn’t qualify for Q3.
AlphaTauri decided to start Gasly from the pitlane and switch him to a fresh power unit in order to experiment with the race’s set-up and effectively use it as a test session.
The Frenchman’s surge from last to 12th place provided a glimpse of what he could have accomplished from a respectable starting position.
“Still quite mad about it,” he said when asked how the penalty had impacted his strategy. “Because from what I’ve seen, in the emails that I’ve seen, it’s very arguable whether I was on-track or off-track.”
“Similar things happened to Yuki [Tsunoda] and Checo, and from the onboards, they were clearly on the track. But anyway, that was it.”
“And from our position, starting from the back, I think I was happy to just try to understand a bit more from our package, because at the moment, we know we were not displaying the performance that we should… and it’s still not great, but at least there are a couple of good signs of performance.”
The subject of track restrictions, which has been a frequent issue in recent FIA drivers’ briefings and GPDA meetings, was one thing that Gasly said he’d previously had a lengthy conversation about with race directors Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas.
“I spent 40 minutes with them trying to discuss and find a way that everybody is happy,” the AlphaTauri driver said. “At the moment, they have a huge amount of work.”
“They’re not making their life very easy. Clearly in Turn 5 they didn’t have the right tools to police it in the most fair way possible.”
“We just spoke about solutions going forward to have first a more consistent way of policing it and making sure it’s going in the right direction.”
“They were quite open… I think they were expecting a feedback. I’ll get back to all the drivers to see if over the next few weeks [we] can try to find a way to also provide some solution for them to make it better.”
As opposed to him, Perez was fortunate to have additional video evidence that ultimately led to his exoneration, according to Gasly: “Yeah, they were using CCTV and in my case, there was nothing else.
“Checo had these onboards. For whatever reason, I had a helmet cam, which didn’t allow any other camera basically to check whether I was on track or not. I’ve seen the footage, and to me it was arguable.”
“To me you either have the right tools to police in the fairest way, or in that case you should not do it. And that’s what we discussed.”
“I know that for next year, they’re already looking at different options but unfortunately, I was the one paying the consequences of this happening this season.”