Gasly to drive for Red Bull in 2019

Red Bull Racing has confirmed that Pierre Gasly will be the new team-mate to Max Verstappen, as a replacement to the Renault-bound Dainel Ricciardo.

This is a promotion for Gasly, who currently drives for Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso. Pierre made his debut in last season’s Malaysian Grand Prix before being promoted to a full-time drive for this year.

He finished fourth in Bahrain, earning Honda’s best result since returning to Formula 1 in 2015, and has since achieved a seventh in Monaco and sixth in Hungary to comfortably outperform team-mate Brendon Hartley.

When Ricciardo announced his shock move to Renault for 2019, Gasly quickly emerged as the favourite to replace him.

McLaren’s news that it had signed Carlos Sainz, Gasly’s only apparent rival for Ricciardo’s seat, effectively confirmed Gasly’s promotion because McLaren needed Red Bull’s permission to hire and announce Sainz.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said Gasly’s “stellar performances” this season had “enhanced his reputation as one of the most exciting young drivers in motorsport”.

Gasly will also bring a season’s experience with Honda engines, which Red Bull will adopt for 2019.

“Since Pierre first stepped into a Formula 1 seat with Scuderia Toro Rosso less than a year ago he has proved the undoubted talent that Red Bull has nurtured since his early career,” said Horner.

“We look forward to Pierre bringing his speed, skill and attitude to the team in 2019.”

Gasly is the only Red Bull driver to win Formula 1’s immediate feeder series’ championship, having clinched the 2016 GP2 Series title.

He was then placed in Super Formula as Red Bull made him wait for his F1 chance, but described his swift acceleration to a senior team drive as “a dream come true”.

“It has been my goal to race for this team since I joined the Red Bull Junior Driver Programme in 2013,” said Gasly.

“This incredible opportunity is another step forward in my ambition to win grands prix and compete for world championships.

“Red Bull has always looked to fight for championships or victories and that’s what I want.”

Gasly said he was grateful to Toro Rosso and his current team boss Franz Tost, and said he wants to “do everything I can to give them a season to celebrate” over the rest of 2018.

Red Bull’s confirmation of Gasly means it will need to find at least one new driver to place at Toro Rosso next season, though Hartley may yet earn a stay of execution because of the lack of options.

So congratulations to Pierre Gasly in getting the promotion to the main Red Bull drive. It’s going to be fascinating how well he will get along with superstar Max Verstappen.

3 thoughts to “Gasly to drive for Red Bull in 2019”

  1. Pierre Gasly has confessed to being stood in his underwear when he took the call telling him that he had got the drive at Red Bull for next season.

    The Frenchman is being promoted from Toro Rosso as replacement for Daniel Ricciardo, following the Australian’s shock switch to Renault for 2019.

    Gasly headed into the summer break knowing he was under consideration for the seat, but was caught by surprise when he took a call last week from Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko informing him about the team’s plans.

    “When Helmut started the call with me I was in my underwear,” said Gasly, in an interview with Red Bull’s official website.

    “When the call ended I ran around the house shouting to my mates and they all jumped in the pool straight away!

    “There was so much excitement and I was so happy about it because it’s something I’ve wanted for a long time. Of course when I came in to the Red Bull Junior programme that was the target, to drive in Formula 1 for this team, so I was just so so happy and had so much excitement.”

    Gasly faces a big task in going up against Max Verstappen in 2019, but says he is not fazed by the prospect.

    “Being teammates and mates with Max next season is really cool, because we get on really well and we’ve known each other for a really long time,” he said.

    “We used to race against each other in karting in 2010 as a junior, so we’ve already raced together, but not for the same team. We’ve actually had a couple of close battles, sometimes good for me, sometimes not so good, but we really enjoyed that time.

    “We really respect each other a lot as drivers, but also as friends, so I’m really excited to join him in the team with him. As we have a strong friendship it will be only a positive for the team.”

    Red Bull itself knows that Gasly does not yet have a full year’s race experience under his belt, but expects him to be able to fully show what he is capable of by the middle of next year.

    Speaking to Servus TV, Marko said: “Pierre is in his second year in F1, so he is missing some experience. But his pure speed, especially in qualifying, is very close to Max.

    “That is one of his strengths. We expect him to be an appropriate replacement for Ricciardo by the middle of the season [2019].”

    Red Bull hopes to name Gasly’s replacement at Toro Rosso around the time of the Italian Grand Prix.


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