Pierre Gasly will line up on this afternoon’s Hungarian Grand Prix grid with a brand-new power unit installed in the back of his AlphaTauri AT01.
Gasly qualified 10th for Sunday’s race but sat out the final Q3 segment when Honda’s engineers could not trace the origin of a minor engine issue that emerged earlier in the session.
As a matter of precaution, Honda has undertaken a complete power unit change.
“The safest option on Gasly’s car for tomorrow therefore is to change the PU, which we will do tonight,” Honda said.
“There’s no penalty attached to this change and it’s easier than trying to trace what might be a very minor problem in the track garage.
“Instead, the PU will be sent back to Sakura to be thoroughly checked.”
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Although he did well to qualify among the top-ten, Gasly was obviously frustrated by the engine issues that hampered the Frenchman’s running.
“From the end of Q1 or the start of Q2 especially, we started to have massive cuts on power,” he explained.
“Initially it happened only on the out laps when I was recharging the batteries, going like full throttle, and just having these big cuts, so I could not synchronise the gears and warm up the tyres properly.
“On my fastest lap, the engine cut at the end of the main straight. We lost a bit of time there, then after the rest of the lap was OK. Then in my second one, I could not go fast enough to achieve from fourth gear onwards.
“We had all this big lag and cuts which got worse and worse. So we had to abort the session because when I started the lap, I had no power left.”
Overall, given his troubles, Gasly was surprised to have outpaced both Renault’s and Alex Albon’s Red Bull. But the AlphaTauri charger isn’t expecting an easy afternoon around the Hungaroring.
“We know in the race it’s also a bit more difficult for us, compared to the Renaults,” he said.
“Especially as we knew that the grid position in Budapest is crucial. And that’s what was really important, to qualify as far up the grid as possible.
“I really hope we can manage to get some points tomorrow from this position. But at the moment, we know that Renault is slightly faster and I was slightly out of the top 10.”
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