Gasly enjoyed a solid 2020 season by finishing tenth in the drivers’ championship, capped off by a shock maiden win in the Italian Grand Prix.
AlphaTauri’s 2020 car allowed Gasly and former teammate Daniil Kvyat to be firmly in the midfield mix, the pair scoring points on 17 occasions as the team finished seventh.
Despite the limited development window for 2021, Gasly believes that the Faenza team has taken another step forward during the off-season following a “really positive” three days of winter testing in Bahrain.
At Sakhir, the AlphaTauri AT02 showed its potential in the hands of Gasly’s new teammate, Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda. Tsunoda set the second-fastest time in Sakhir one tenth slower than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, albeit with the help of extensive DRS usage.
Gasly said he hoped the excitement around AlphaTauri is justified but warned that it was still too early to draw conclusions ahead of this weekend’s season opener at the same venue.
“There are good reasons to be excited and I hope we’re going to be able to put on some strong performances early on in the season,” Gasly told F1’s world feed in Bahrain.
“We have a good package, but I don’t want to draw any quick conclusions because things will be very different [during the race weekend]. At the moment we are just looking at ourselves.
“There are always things to improve but to be honest after three days we are a lot better than when we were at the same time last year in Barcelona. I’m really happy.”
AlphaTauri’s confidence has been boosted by an upgraded Honda engine, which Gasly said is a good step forward compared to last year’s power unit.
“So far we’re really happy [with the engine], it’s a step forward compared to last year,” he explained.
“Driveability has been perfect all three days, so really positive on this side.
“I don’t want to get too excited before we get to qualifying and then I think we’ll get the full picture. I really hope we can be in the fight for some good points.”