Pierre Gasly’s Alonso Radio Joke Was to Credit Honda
Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly finished fourth at last weekend’s Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix, giving Honda its best-ever result as an engine manufacturer since it returned to the sport in 2015, and Toro Rosso its joint second best-ever result.
On his cooldown lap after the checkered flag, Gasly celebrated the fourth-place finish and thanked his team over the radio before declaring “Now we can fight.”
Those who had watched the Australian Grand Prix two weeks before may have heard that sentence before: it was spoken by Fernando Alonso after he finished fifth, which had been McLaren’s joint-best finish of the last three years.
When asked whether Gasly had intentionally made a reference to Alonso, the Frenchman replied: “It was just a little joke—that is it. I just think we need to give credit back to Honda. They had a really tough three years with McLaren and to finish fourth in our second race with them was just amazing.”
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After three difficult years with Honda, McLaren terminated their partnership early and switched to Renault power for 2018. So far, though, it hasn’t proven to be the clear-cut upgrade McLaren had proclaimed it would be, and many are wondering if the British team made the right decision.
Toro Rosso is now the constructor working with Honda and, unlike at McLaren, everyone seems extremely optimistic and excited about the future of the partnership. Gasly was keen on reiterating that his radio message had been purely about giving credit to Honda rather than making a dig at Alonso, who had been extremely critical of the manufacturer.
“I have huge respect for Fernando,” Gasly said. “Fernando is one of the best drivers of all time in F1, one of my idols. IT was nothing related [to him personally]. It was a comment for Honda because I think they deserve the credit…They need credit for the hard work they are doing.”
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