Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly said he suffered back pain throughout his Formula 1 race debut in the Malaysian Grand Prix because of an uncomfortable seating position.
Gasly replaced Daniil Kvyat in Red Bull’s junior team for this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix and finished 14th at Sepang.
The Frenchman, who joined the Red Bull programme in 2014 and is the reigning GP2 champion, said his seat was moving around a lot during the race.
He will stay in the car for next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, alongside teammate Carlos Sainz, and will have a new seat in readiness for the start of the weekend.
“With the seat, I’m not supported enough. It’s not ideal but it’s more like I didn’t feel fully comfortable,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com about the pain.
“It was moving a lot from lap one, especially at high speed all race as well. I’m not inside the seat, I’m moving a lot and it’s not ideal for my back.
“It feels like it’s quite painful so we have planned already to do a new one for next weekend. I think with the seat we will definitely do a new one in Suzuka.”
Gasly said his debut was “better than expected” but has outlined a number of areas he wants to work on to improve.
“I think that was a positive race it was important to take experience and to finish the race,” he said. “Looking back at it there are many things I would do differently.
“Some situations with the blue flags and tyre management. I think we pitted slightly early. Of course as a racing driver you want to push so I went out of the [pit] box and tried to push to undercut the others but I paid it a bit in the end.
“A few things that will come with experience but I’ve tried to push as hard as possible without doing mistakes and it was a positive weekend overall.”
When asked if he had spoken to Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko after the race, Gasly said: “I saw him in the paddock, he was smiling so I guess it means positive feedback.”
Team principal Franz Tost praised the rookie’s performance and is excited by the prospect of seeing him drive at Suzuka, given he has experienced of the circuit.
“Pierre did a fantastic job again today – this was his first weekend with the team and he performed very well,” said Tost.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him race again in Suzuka because it’s a race track he knows from the Japanese Super Formula championship.”