Alpine’s Pierre Gasly Unphased by Lewis Hamilton’s Move to Ferrari

Alpine's Pierre Gasly talks openly about how he isn't shocked by Lewis Hamilton's decision to join Ferrari in 2025.


By Ben Bush
Updated on February 9, 2024

Pierre Gasly and Lewis Hamilton

During the unveiling of Alpine’s latest car, Gasly mentioned he was “aware of [Hamilton having] some talks with Ferrari”.

“He is towards the end of his career, so it was now or never,” Gasly said.

“But I think it was kept secret for a long time,” added the French 28-year-old, who is a close friend of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and plays computer games with Hamilton.

He declined to disclose the source of his information regarding the Mercedes driver’s switch.

Gasly showed minimal compassion towards Leclerc’s teammate, Carlos Sainz, who is currently in search of a drive for the 2025 season.

“Carlos is a great driver, Lewis is a fantastic driver, best of all time,” Gasly said. “There was an opportunity on both sides and Ferrari and Lewis took it together. It leaves Carlos in a more tricky situation and it’s not easy.”

Alpine fell to sixth place in the constructors’ championship in 2023, a drop from fourth place in the previous year, amidst significant organizational changes. They managed two podium finishes that year, with Esteban Ocon securing one in Monaco and Gasly achieving another at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Gasly noted that his team had opted for a “risky” change in their car design for 2024, acknowledging that it could result in a challenging beginning to the season.

“It kind of felt like we were plateauing a bit so we decided to go with something very new, quite bold and aggressive, knowing it might be a little bit difficult at the start of the season but with more potential to unlock later on,” Gasly said.

“As Matt [Harman, the technical director] said, the only thing that remains from last year is the steering wheel. So, when you start from a blank piece of paper, from scratch basically, there is always more risk.

“But you have to take risks at some point if you want to get big in the world. So that’s the strategy we decided to go for.

“We didn’t try the car yet, so we have to wait for [the opening race in] Bahrain and get a first feel for it but we know there is potential to unlock.

“We just might need to be a little bit patient.”

Ocon elaborated that the new design approach focused on modifying the suspension to enhance both the aerodynamic and mechanical efficiency of the car.

Ocon added: “The new concept is basically [a] different position with all the suspension, and that is very visual.

“We are trying to get more airflow through the car with that and to gain grip also at low speed. And with that comes a lot of little details – better ride, better traction. On paper, that’s what we should get. On track, we’ll see.”

Team principal Bruno Famin acknowledged that their engine was “a bit down” to their competitors’ but expressed confidence that the team could offset this with the car’s overall performance.

Gasly further commented: “We know where we stand on the engine and this won’t change until 2026. From the moment you know that, then it doesn’t mean we can’t improve what we’ve got.

“We are trying to improve the performance of the power unit but we have more performance to gain on the chassis based on the fact we have a lot more to change and develop.

“I am confident we can make a step forward. The car wasn’t as good as we wanted last year and that’s why we’re doing this concept change to make sure we can catch faster competitors who were ahead of us last year.”

Alpine opted for significant modifications, believing it was a pivotal opportunity before the existing regulations change.

With a substantial overhaul in rules set for 2026, introducing new engines and aerodynamic guidelines, these regulations are expected to be finalized by the end of June. A halt on aerodynamic development for the 2026 season until the beginning of 2025 has been imposed.

This scenario indicates that by mid-season, teams will shift their focus to the 2026 developments, diverting resources from their 2025 designs.

Harman revealed that the new model, the A524, features numerous substantial updates.

The design continues to follow the Red Bull-inspired approach with aggressively sculpted side pods.

The modifications include a new design for the rear suspension, enhancements to the front suspension, and significant improvements in managing the brakes’ thermal output. This aspect is crucial in Formula 1, as the brakes’ heat affects the Pirelli tyres, which can overheat and degrade in performance without proper management.

Harman also noted a redesign of the underfloor, crucial for generating downforce through venturi tunnels, has been reconsidered.

“By applying these changes, we are giving ourselves much wider scope to add performance across the next two seasons even if there has been some compromise on reaching certain targets, which we have pushed to the limit,” he said.

Additionally, Alpine announced their 2024 endurance racing initiative, with Mick Schumacher, son of the legendary seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher, balancing this with his role as a reserve driver for Mercedes F1.

Schumacher, eager to make a comeback to F1 after his tenure with Haas ended in 2022, shared:

“The move was quite clear. The closest [category] to F1 but also a holding project.

“Everyone is really keen to get going and it really sparked the flavour in me.”


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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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