Pierre Gasly's GPU column: A busy period

Pierre Gasly's GPU column: A busy period

23 July 2017 – It has been an eventful phase for GPUpdate.net columnist Pierre Gasly, splitting duties as Red Bull's F1 reserve driver with racing in Super Formula, along with his debut in Formula E, as he explains below.

Hi guys! I'm writing to you from France on a weekend to recharge the batteries.

We've had Super Formula races at Suzuka, Okayama and Fuji. It's been good. Of course, we've had some difficult moments, but now it's getting better, we're making improvements. It's been good in terms of driving because the car is competitive, and we're at good tracks – like Suzuka – and most recently in Fuji. It's good to drive and to be in the car and race.

It feels a little bit like a different world when you arrive in Japan.

Everything is so different: the people, the culture, the cities, how they are and how they live there, the food, the buildings, everything is different. It feels like that: a different world. I really like it so far, in normal life Japanese people are really respectful, they have great values, so it's been amazing from a human point of view to be there, because when you come back to Europe there's things you see a bit differently and you think, 'OK, we should behave more like they do', in terms of respect.

In terms of working in Japan, there are positives and negatives. I've found it's been a bit tough communicating with the team.

They have a bit of a hierarchy, so when you need to take a decision, it's not like in Europe where you can take a decision in 30 seconds and just do things that are the right way to go. Everything takes much longer, the boss needs to agree, and then if he doesn't and everyone in the team agrees, then you cannot in a way because the boss disagrees with that direction. Everything in terms of processes takes longer.

Also in the team the difficult thing is that only my Race Engineer speaks English, so basically I give my feedback in English and after he needs to translate in Japanese. Of course, I don't know if he translates exactly with the right words to the other engineers in Japanese, and then for me, I cannot understand Japanese, so after the other engineers talk in Japanese to my engineer, he then translates into English! It takes hours, much longer than in Europe to do briefings, debriefings. It's more difficult to understand each other, to tell them what I need in the car, then the other way around it's the same for me, to answer the questions they're asking.

So communication was a bit difficult to know exactly what we needed on that side, but we've made a big improvement. But that's the main thing, nobody speaks English, and when you're fast in the beginning, like in testing, we didn't have any problems, but when you need to improve the car, work on it, and give precise feedback, then it gets more complicated!

Also, with Honda, it's a bit difficult to fight against Toyota, though we're trying to focus on ourselves, and it's getting better. In the last two races I was the first Honda driver, finishing seventh and then top five in Fuji. Of course, it's not as high as I'd like, but it takes time to get back to the top. In pre-season testing we were really good in cold conditions and we seem to struggle in warmer conditions, but we're working, finding little tunings each weekend.

That's the negatives – the positives are it's a great series.

You have experienced drivers, even though we don't really talk about it in Europe, there are drivers who have spent 10 years in Super Formula, and they know exactly how to race with the car, all the tracks in Japan, the feeling etcetera, so for me it's good there as you really need to push hard and be at the front, and the level is good.

It's also a really good series in terms of tyres; the tyres have a really small window, if you want to extract everything from the tyres, so you have to do the out-lap properly, the warm-up lap properly, to get everything ready for qualifying. It's quite tough with this car, but it's pretty good as it teaches you to be accurate with all the procedures inside the car.

In the races you can push flat out all the time and you have really low degradation. Of course, as a driver I prefer to do that rather than some tyre management, but it's quite intense, as for one hour and 20 minutes you have to take 100 per cent out of the car at each corner, so I think it's good preparation as well, and it's great to be able to drive quick cars! Overall it's good preparation for the future.

Last weekend I also raced in Formula E in New York, in place of Sébastien Buemi. It's been a really good experience as I didn't know what to expect. I heard all of the comments about the series and the car, but I wanted to have my own opinion about it, and I went there to discover, to get my own feedback.

I must say I really enjoyed it, even though it was probably the worst preparation I had for a race as I only flew out to New York on the Friday, after simulator work with Red Bull!

I got there, and the weekend went pretty well, in terms of performance. It's a completely different car, so you can't compare it to Formula 1, Formula 2, or Super Formula and I didn't want to compare it.

It was actually pretty good fun to drive, especially at New York and at a street track, it always makes it more exciting to drive as there's no space for mistakes. Also in terms of management. You need to be smart in the way you push, the way you fight, not only about driving but a lot of management, you have to be always thinking about how you use your energy to make sure you've got to the end with a quick pace. I found it interesting and the race pace was good, I finished in the points in both races, P4 in front of Lucas di Grassi on Sunday, which was good for the team, in front of my team-mate, Nicolas Prost, in both races, and it was good to be back with DAMS, who I was with in GP2 in 2015 and a team I really like, even though it was only two days: a short weekend together!

With Red Bull, since the beginning of the year I have some days in the simulator, sometimes between races to do development work for the team, testing tyres, new upgrades, or aero parts on the car, just developing it how I can.

Usually Buemi is supposed to be there during the race weekends, but when there is a clash, WEC or FE, I need to replace him there, in this case we do some development and testing on the Thursday, then on the Friday we drive after each free practice to test set-ups in the car, so for me it's about giving feedback on the car, ensuring the team takes the right direction, going one way or the other!

As Buemi is going to Montréal for Formula E, next week I'll be in the simulator at Red Bull for Budapest and then I'll be heading out there on Saturday to join the race team for the remainder of the weekend!

Until then!

Pierre

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Friday 15 December 2017

  2. Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 15 15:12

    Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 15

    Mercedes continues its countdown to Christmas by looking back at the Belgian Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton narrowly beat…

    F1
  3. Norris: F2 tyres no preparation for F1 13:45

    Norris: F2 tyres no preparation for F1

    McLaren-backed youngster Lando Norris does not believe that Pirelli's tyres in Formula 2 sufficiently prepare a driver in terms…

    F2
  4. Renders of new Canada pit building posted 11:32

    Renders of new Canada pit building posted

    Initial renders of the planned new paddock building at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve have been posted online by the Société du…

    F1
  5. Video: Verstappen, Ricciardo on the sofa 10:34

    Video: Verstappen, Ricciardo on the sofa

    Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo get comfy on the sofa to review the season that was 2017, in which they…

    F1
  6. Mazepin to move across to GP3 with ART GP 09:15

    Mazepin to move across to GP3 with ART GP

    Force India test driver Nikita Mazepin will move across to the GP3 Series in 2018, having signed a deal with ART Grand…

    GP3
  7. 2017 review: Renault makes gradual progress 09:02

    2017 review: Renault makes gradual progress

    GPUpdate.net continues its end-of-season review with Renault, which returned to the midfield, as Nico Hülkenberg led the…

    F1
  8. Video: Hamilton at Merc plant in Sindelfingen 05:38

    Video: Hamilton at Merc plant in Sindelfingen

    Newly crowned Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton drops in to see his colleagues at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen.

    F1
  9. Thursday 14 December 2017

  10. 17:02

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  11. Grosjean: Development a weakness for Haas 15:48

    Grosjean: Development a weakness for Haas

    Romain Grosjean has expressed optimism over Haas' form during its second season in Formula 1, but believes its development…

    F1
  12. Motorsport.com acquires Netherlands GPUpdate.net 15:33

    Motorsport.com acquires Netherlands GPUpdate.net

    Dutch fans are set to be the big winners in 2018 with Motorsport.com, the world's fastest growing media brand, acquiring the…

    F1
  13. Charouz signs Delétraz and Fuoco for 2018 15:08

    Charouz signs Delétraz and Fuoco for 2018

    Formula 2 newcomers Charouz has recruited Louis Delétraz and Antonio Fuoco for its inaugural campaign in the championship in…

    F2
  14. Viñales completes first laps at Kyalami 13:34

    Viñales completes first laps at Kyalami

    Maverick Viñales became the first MotoGP rider to complete laps at the revamped Kyalami circuit earlier this week when he took…

    MotoGP
  15. Follow GPUpdate on social media channels 13:20

    Follow GPUpdate on social media channels

    For almost two decades GPUpdate.net has kept the motorsport community updated with the latest news, photos and thoughts from the…

    F1
  16. 'Kudos to Red Bull for taking risk' - Hartley 11:42

    'Kudos to Red Bull for taking risk' - Hartley

    Brendon Hartley says that he has "massive respect" for Red Bull chiefs after they handed him his Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso…

    F1
  17. Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 14 10:14

    Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 14

    Mercedes continues its countdown to Christmas by reflecting on George Russell's first public Formula 1 test with the team, as he…

    F1
  18. 2017 review: STR fades after strong start 08:58

    2017 review: STR fades after strong start

    GPUpdate.net continues its end-of-season review by reflecting on Toro Rosso's campaign, which unravelled through the final…

    F1
  19. Video: Hamilton, Mercedes present photobook 05:38

    Video: Hamilton, Mercedes present photobook

    Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes present '4', the double-sided 2017 World Championship collectors photobook, featuring a selection of…

    F1
  20. Wednesday 13 December 2017

  21. Video: Verstappen takes on Snake Eyez 16:32

    Video: Verstappen takes on Snake Eyez

    Watch as Formula 1 racer Max Verstappen takes on Red Bull Esports athlete Snake Eyez at Street Fighter.

    F1
  22. MotoGP to host Barcelona test for riders 14:38

    MotoGP to host Barcelona test for riders

    MotoGP's Race Direction will host an open test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in May, to enable riders to assess the new…

    MotoGP
  23. Ericsson defends record against Wehrlein 13:32

    Ericsson defends record against Wehrlein

    Marcus Ericsson has defended his record against former Sauber team-mate Pascal Wehrlein, despite failing to score a point in…

    F1
  24. Video: Latifi on F2 season, 2018 title hopes 10:33

    Video: Latifi on F2 season, 2018 title hopes

    Nicholas Latifi reflects on his 2017 Formula 2 season, which featured one win and nine podiums, and looks ahead to a potential…

    F2
  25. Chilton excited by Carlin IndyCar project 10:04

    Chilton excited by Carlin IndyCar project

    Max Chilton believes that Carlin can emerge as a competitive force in IndyCar in 2018, after confirmation of the team's…

    Indy
  26. 2017 review: Solid Haas scores more points 09:06

    2017 review: Solid Haas scores more points

    GPUpdate.net continues its end-of-season review with Haas, which stabilised as both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen scored…

    F1
  27. Boullier 'not a fan' of Norris practice runs 08:35

    Boullier 'not a fan' of Norris practice runs

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier says that he is "not a fan" of potentially giving Lando Norris practice outings in 2018…

    F1
  28. Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 13 05:36

    Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 13

    Mercedes continues its countdown to Christmas by reflecting on the British Grand Prix, which Lewis Hamilton won for the fourth…

    F1
  29. Tuesday 12 December 2017

  30. Video: Roborace – Human versus Machine 16:22

    Video: Roborace – Human versus Machine

    Watch as Formula E presenter Nicki Shields takes on DevBot, a test mule for Roborace, the first driverless racing series, at the…

    FE
  31. Carlin enters IndyCar, signs Chilton, Kimball 14:18

    Carlin enters IndyCar, signs Chilton, Kimball

    Carlin has announced its move into the IndyCar series in a full-time capacity for the 2018 season, with Max Chilton and Charlie…

    Indy
  32. Monger eyes return to single-seater racing 12:49

    Monger eyes return to single-seater racing

    Billy Monger says that he hopes to return to single-seater competition in 2018, potentially in British Formula 3, after the FIA…

    Misc
  33. Dorna confirms supplier for electric series 11:37

    Dorna confirms supplier for electric series

    MotoGP promoter Dorna Sports has announced the supplier for the new FIM Moto-e World Cup electric series, which is set to begin…

    MotoGP
  34. De Vries, Müller to test Audi Formula E car 10:17

    De Vries, Müller to test Audi Formula E car

    Formula 2 driver Nyck de Vries and DTM racer Nico Müller will sample Formula E machinery with Audi in the series…

    FE
  35. Video: Hong Kong FE cinematic highlights 10:02

    Video: Hong Kong FE cinematic highlights

    Watch cinematic highlights from the first two races of the 2017/18 Formula E season, which took place on the streets of Hong…

    FE
  36. 2017 review: McLaren-Honda ends in divorce 09:02

    2017 review: McLaren-Honda ends in divorce

    GPUpdate.net continues its team-by-team review with McLaren, which finally lost patience with Honda, as the marque's revised…

    F1
  37. Williams silent over Kubica/Sirotkin reports 08:28

    Williams silent over Kubica/Sirotkin reports

    Williams is staying silent over reports that Robert Kubica has dropped out of contention for its 2018 race seat, and that Sergey…

    F1
  38. Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 12 05:48

    Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 12

    Mercedes continues its countdown to Christmas by looking back at the Austrian Grand Prix, where Valtteri Bottas took pole and…

    F1
  39. Monday 11 December 2017

  40. Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 11 15:04

    Video: Mercedes' Follow the Star - Day 11

    Mercedes continues its countdown to Christmas by reflecting on the dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix, when Lewis Hamilton was…

    F1
  41. Pirelli announces first 2018 compound choices 13:43

    Pirelli announces first 2018 compound choices

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has confirmed the compounds that will be used at the opening three Grands Prix of the 2018…

    F1
  42. Porsche outlines plans for early 2019 FE test 13:38

    Porsche outlines plans for early 2019 FE test

    Porsche has revealed that it intends to give its Formula E package its first on-track test in early 2019, ahead of its entry…

    FE
  43. Tost: Kvyat deserves to be in Formula 1 13:33

    Tost: Kvyat deserves to be in Formula 1

    Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost says that Daniil Kvyat "deserves" to be in Formula 1, despite recent setbacks, and hopes to see…

    F1
  44. Bottas eyes qualifying and consistency gains 12:16

    Bottas eyes qualifying and consistency gains

    Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas has accepted that he needs to improve his one-lap pace, and string a more consistent campaign…

    F1
  45. I was more aggressive in 2017 - Sainz Jr. 10:48

    I was more aggressive in 2017 - Sainz Jr.

    Carlos Sainz Jr. says he adopted a more aggressive stance in Formula 1 in 2017, in order to underline his credentials…

    F1
more news