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Gasly rues costly floor damage from Ocon contact in F1 Japanese GP

Pierre Gasly's Japanese Grand Prix was spoiled by floor damage caused by early contact with his Alpine Formula 1 team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A524

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The pair touched at the restart following the early red flag, with Gasly losing what the team later estimated as around 33 points of downforce, which equates to a potential lap time impact of up to 0.7-0.9 seconds.

Ocon also suffered some damage and thereafter both drivers had an even trickier race than they had anticipated with the difficult A524, eventually finishing 15th and 16th, with Gasly behind.

“We had an amazing first start and managed to move up three positions,” said Gasly.

“The second start was very good, I managed to pass Esteban and go alongside Yuki [Tsunoda], and then unfortunately I got sandwiched, with Yuki turning left and Esteban turning right.

“He [Ocon] touched me and took the whole left side of my floor off the car.

“So I was down, the team thinks, a bit less than 40 points of downforce. So after that, it was pretty much game over. I was trying to stay out there hoping for another red flag to change it.

“That was it, pretty much, just a racing incident but it cost us a lot. It was a very, very long, very long, very difficult afternoon.”

Gasly said that the Enstone team did at least make progress in Japan after introducing a package that included a substantially changed front wing.

Press Conference, Pierre Gasly, Alpine F1 Team

Press Conference, Pierre Gasly, Alpine F1 Team

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“On the positive side, we had the first set of upgrades which, apparently, delivered what we expected,” he said. “So that was very positive.

“We just need to crack on with these new parts and upgrades on the car. I know the team's working really hard, we just need it. Obviously, [Suzuka was] not very representative towards what we had.

“But overall, we know we are still too slow and we’ve got to find more performance, and I know they're working really hard on it.

“I appreciate they managed to get this first upgrade this weekend, now we need to get the next set as soon as possible.”

Asked by Autosport when the next upgrade is due he said: “Not for China. There is stuff, but obviously, it keeps evolving because we're in a situation where we can make bigger calls.

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“So we'll see exactly what we do. But there'll be new parts coming in the next few races.”

Conceding it will take time for Alpine to have the chance to take a significant step forward, Gasly added: “I think mid-term we need a big thing.

"I think [we can] still improve on this for now as this sort of car concept doesn't deliver what we expected. But in the meantime, everything we can chip away at every single weekend will get us closer to potentially finishing in the points at some point.

“So at the minute, we're clearly at the back of that sort of second league. But every single tenth we can get as soon as possible will make a difference at the end of the year.”

Watch: F1 2024 Japanese Grand Prix Review – Normal Service Resumed

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