The case for Gasly: Why he was harshly treated by Red Bull

13-08-2019 14:48
by Adam Newton
Column
The case for Gasly: Why he was harshly treated by Red Bull

The F1 world was shocked on Monday as it was confirmed that Alexander Albon would be replacing Pierre Gasly at Red Bull after the summer break.

Gasly has had a torrid time as Max Verstappen's team mate at Red Bull, scoring just 63 points, compared to the Dutchman's 181 points, but there is a case for the young Frenchman, despite his difficult season.

First of all, let's not forget just how good Max Verstappen is. Competing against him is an incredibly tough task. Even a driver of Daniel Ricciardo's talent and experience was no match for Verstappen, losing out by 79 points last year, and thats even with Verstappen's dodgy start to the season.

Ricciardo was also much more experienced than Gasly, who only has 38 starts to his name, which isn't many for a driver in a top car.

Despite this inexperience and poor season, Gasly is still a very good driver. He won the GP2 series in 2016 and showed very good pace in a Toro Rosso last season, finishing fourth in Bahrain and sixth in Hungary. These are results that don't happen unless you are a talented driver.

It cannot be denied that Verstappen is Red Bull's golden boy. Like Sebastian Vettel before him, the 21-year old is seen as their future star, the one who can take Red Bull back to those Vettel glory days of the early 2010s.

So naturally, any teammate to Verstappen will find themselves as a definite number two, and maybe Gasly struggled with that, as he wouldn't have experienced anything like it before. 

Red Bull's car, upgrades, and testing data will all be geared to benefit Verstappen, as he is the only driver capable of taking what is the third best car on the grid. This is understandable, but it didn't help Gasly, who admitted he felt he was overdriving the car and couldn't get to grips with it.

Gasly has shown flashes of his ability this season, battling with the Ferraris at Silverstone being the highlight, but it has been a struggle for him. Perhaps his inexperience has counted against him. Only truly great drivers can jump into a race winning car so early in their careers and start competing immediately. Valtteri Bottas spent four years at Williams before he made the move to Mercedes. In more extreme cases, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg were in F1 for years before they eventually won races, and then a championship each.

Gasly may feel like he has not been given enough of an opportunity to show his ability. Fitting into a new team with a new car and expectations, he has had just 12 races to show what he can do. 

Every driver, every sportsperson in fact, goes through patches of bad form. There was a period in Verstappen's career in 2017, where he scored just 43 points in 11 races. Gasly has 63 in 12.

Pierre Gasly is a terrific driver and he will likely have a good career in Formula 1. Perhaps his promotion was too early, perhaps his confidence has taken a hit, but what he's got to concentrate on now is showing why Red Bull were wrong to drop him, and to fight for his seat.

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