Pierre Gasly has revealed the transition from pain to excitement when assessing Alpine's 2022 season.
The Frenchman endured a difficult campaign as his then AlphaTauri team slumped backward to ninth in the constructors' standings due to the AT03 struggling with weight issues.
Alpine, on the other hand, experienced a surge in form to finish fourth, ahead of McLaren, in a year that would have been even more impressive but for considerable reliability issues.
Gasly, who joins the Enstone-based French manufacturer for the new term, told GPFans in an end-of-season interview: “I’m not going to lie, [the] start of the year was quite painful to see them beating us and being ahead of us.
“Obviously since the summer break, I've looked at it with a different eye, and that's also, at the end of the day, why I wanted this so much.
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“I've seen the trajectory over the last few years, the recruitments. I've had long conversations with Laurent Rossi [Alpine CEO], also, Luca [de Meo, Groupe Renault CEO] and Otmar [Szafnauer, Alpine F1 team principal] on what the project is and what they want to achieve.
“As a manufacturer, they're doing everything they can to really be fighting at the front, and now you can see that it's paying off."
Speaking on the strength of the technical team, Gasly added: “Whatever they brought to the car this year straight away translated into better performance.
“In Canada, they qualified on the first row. They brought a new floor in Singapore, and straight away it worked. They were competitive as soon as they put the parts on.
“There is really good work going on in the team and very good correlation. I believe the technical team is very strong.
“It's very exciting times, and they definitely took a step forward. They finished fourth, and hopefully, we can take this team to the next level in the coming year.”
Additional reporting by Ewan Gale