Gasly ended up third behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Oscar Piastri.
The leading pair opted to pit at the end of the formation lap to switch from the full wet tyres mandated by F1’s rules, as the safety car had led the pack once the delayed proceedings eventually got underway on another day impacted by rain during this event.
Verstappen expressed his belief that the FIA’s choices regarding the shortened 11-lap race, due to the five formation laps, were “likely a cautious approach.”
When questioned by Motorsport.com about whether race control had made correct decisions, Gasly expressed a different opinion.
Gasly’s viewpoint focuses on the persistent issue of reduced visibility that Formula 1 drivers encounter while driving in wet conditions due to the introduction of the new ground-effect cars. These cars generate significant amounts of spray, which is then dispersed over a larger surface area.
Gasly expressed that he holds a slightly contrasting perspective from Max, considering the remarks made thus far, during the post-sprint race press conference.
“I can only compare my current position to where I was at the time. During the formation laps, I was in sixth position, behind the safety car. I believe that the experience is slightly different when you’re in first or second place, and it’s even more challenging when you’re at the back.”
“I believe that my opinion alone may not hold much significance, as it would be more appropriate to inquire about the experiences of all 20 drivers. However, I personally had a complete lack of visibility.”
“If Oscar or Max had a collision in the middle of the straight, I would have been directly behind them.”
“I was unable to see beyond a distance of 10-20m ahead of me, and even during the process of warming up the tires and other preparations, it was a situation filled with uncertainty. I did not feel secure.”
I was sincerely hoping that no one would veer off the track or collide and become stranded in the middle of the straight when they resumed. It is quite clear what would have occurred in such a situation.
The race conditions were likely suitable from the beginning, so it’s not a matter of questioning the conditions.
Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
“The problem is the visibility. And the spray at the moment is so huge out of these cars – the water just stays in the air.
I was in P6 and my visibility was extremely limited. Therefore, I can only speculate on the even worse conditions experienced at the rear of the field.
“I was eager to start boxing immediately for inters, and this simply provided an additional motivation to engage in the sport and increase my visibility.”
It’s a challenging decision because anything can happen on the straight. I’m uncertain about what might occur. While I desire to compete, I’m relieved that everything went well today.
Just having one individual positioned incorrectly along the straight is enough to cause a rapid escalation of problems.
Verstappen later explained that he completely understands Pierre’s remarks, as he believes that the problem with spray has worsened since he joined Formula 1 in 2015.
Verstappen mentioned that there were instances today where I, being the leading car, couldn’t spot the safety car. It was not even resembling an F1 car.
“If we truly desire to resolve the spray issue, it is not advisable to hold a race in wet conditions as it hampers visibility.”