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Pierre Gasly imagined 2019 and his debut at Red Bull Racing to be very different. But Gasly was relegated within half a season. But he is still active in Formula 1. After a difficult six months at Red Bull, Gasly was already recovering tremendously at Toro Rosso and the Frenchman can't wait to show even more for Alpha Tauri in 2020.
Just like many other talents, Pierre completes the necessary lower classes before ending up on the radar of a large team. After Red Bull included the Frenchman in the junior programme in 2014, Gasly was beaten in Formula Renault 3.5 by another talent in the programme: Carlos Sainz.
One year later, Gasly was allowed to take a full-time position in Formula 2 (then still GP2 class) but good results were still lacking. Only when the Frenchman moves to Prema in 2016 (where Gasly drove alongside Antonio Giovinazzi), he starts to perform well.. The title is won and as a reward Gasly got the role of reserve driver for Red Bull Racing.
In the following season, the Frenchman was on the list to step into the vacant seat at Toro Rosso. That adventure didn’t turn into a reality and Gasly, with the support of Red Bull, looked forward to the Super Formula in Japan.
Although Gasly's performance in the series was excellent, the Frenchman was just short of taking the title as well. That shouldn't spoil the fun, as Toro Rosso would be releasing Daniil Kvyat from the programme and Gasly will be seated next to Carlos Sainz for the rest of the Formula 1 season.
The Spaniard left for Renault during the season (as part of a big exchange between the French, Honda and Toro Rosso), making Brendon Hartley Gasly's new teammate. For the American Grand Prix, Daniil Kvyat needed to get back on his feet, as Pierre will have to finish his last race in the Super Formula season: a race that was cancelled due to weather conditions.
Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly continued to be Toro Rosso's duo in 2018, with Gasly clearly achieving better results. The highlight of the season will take place in Bahrain, where the young Frenchman finished fourth. For the rest of the season, the results decrease as the number of grid penalties increased.
Toro Rosso then became the guinea pig of Red Bull to make the Honda engine as good as possible, before the Milton Keynes team started to compete with the Japanese engine in 2019. Not only will the engine be transferred to Red Bull, Pierre was also announced as a new racer for the team. Daniel Ricciardo leaves for Renault, which means Gasly will be sitting next to Max Verstappen. Daniil Kvyat is drummed up again by Helmut Marko to fill the spot at Toro Rosso.
The switch to Red Bull turns out to be too early for Gasly. The young Frenchman doesn't get close to Verstappen and already in the winter tests causes a headache at the Red Bull line when he parks his car twice in the wall. During the first half of the season Gasly never really finds his rhythm and is replaced in the summer.
Where Kvyat was downgraded, Gasly comes back to life. The pressure seems to be off his shoulders and Toro Rosso's car is much more in keeping with the Frenchman's style. The ultimate crowning glory for his development follows in Brazil, when the Frenchman comes second during the chaotic race at Interlagos.
Pierre Gasly in 2020
At Alpha Tauri, Gasly will be able to take the final steps in development in 2020. The step to the top proved to be just a little too early in 2019, but the Frenchman is fast, he has shown often enough already. In 2020 he will have to develop further as leader of the team in order to have a chance of a top position in Formula 1 from 2021 onwards.
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