Albon replaces Gasly at Red Bull from Belgian Grand Prix

2019 F1 season

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Red Bull has announced Pierre Gasly will be replaced by Alexander Albon for the next round of the championship in Belgium.

Gasly, who has lost his place at the top team just 12 races after being promoted to Red Bull from Toro Rosso, will return to the team he raced for last year. Red Bull confirmed the news in a statement on Monday.

“Red Bull are in the unique position of having four talented Formula One drivers under contract who can be rotated between Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso,” it said.

“The team will use the next nine races to evaluate Alex’s performance in order to make an informed decision as to who will drive alongside Max in 2020.”

The news continues the rapid ascent of Albon, who only drove an F1 car for the first time ahead of pre-season testing this year.

Gasly has struggled alongside Max Verstappen since joining Red Bull this year, and scored little more than a quarter of the team’s points tally. Following the Hungarian Grand Prix team principal Christian Horner said “not having two cars running at the front does hurt us”.

However Horner added at the time the team’s “intention” was to leave Gasly in the seat for the remainder of the year.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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210 comments on “Albon replaces Gasly at Red Bull from Belgian Grand Prix”

    1. Wow?!?

      You mean “WOW, I am shocked it didn’t happen sooner!”?

      With such an awful performance (compared to Max), it is a miracle he survived 12 races.

      1. @dallein Wow that it’s Albon…

        Gasly struggled early on and apart from a blip of life at Silverstone, he didn’t improve. In fact, where he was in 6th place and in no mans land in the early races of the year, with an opportunity to take a free pitstop and go for FL, he now gets lapped by his race-winning teammate and struggles to beat Sainz for topspot in Formula 1.5. So yeah, Gasly out is not that surprising.

        Meanwhile, RBR are fighting Ferrari and are in desperate need of a steady points-scorer. Someone who knows what he’s doing and can mix it up with the Ferrari’s and Bottas. So if you are throwing Ghastly in the bin, getting in someone experienced would seem the most logical choice. Kvyat knows the team, has experience at the front, beat Daniel Ricciardo and is capable of getting frequent podiums. He was a bit erratic and crash-happy in his first stint with RBR but has matured since. If not him, then maybe a Hulkenberg or a Bottas (if dropped by Mercedes) would have been a logical choice for a steady nr. 2. So from this perspective taking another young guy doesn’t seem logical.

        If the problem with Gasly, a Euro Formula Renault and GP2 champion mind you, is that he might have been moved up to quickly after just 1 season at STR, then promoting a guy who only managed third in F2 last year after 9 races does not seem the most logical step from that perspective either.

        So yeah….WOW!

        1. Mmm… while this is correct:

          Someone who knows what he’s doing and can mix it up with the Ferrari’s and Bottas

          The problem is it is not Kvyat.
          That guy already blew his chance at RBR once… no wonder they didn’t put him back again.

          Don’t forget – he is in TR only because RBR doesn’t have anyone at all to fill the seat.
          Yes, he improved a bit since his last stint, but will never be a top driver, which fits into description above.

        2. Let’s see how Albon does. There is still time for Kvyat to get the spot before the end of the season.

          *but hopefully Albon does a good job and stays!

        3. @JeffreyJ I couldn’t get past the part where you suggested someone who is struggling in race form, should just pit and go for fastest lap?


          1. Xcm, I would suggest that he is actually saying that Gasly has gone backwards in terms of competitiveness as the season has worn on.

            What he is pointing out is that, earlier in the season, the team could at least rely on Gasly being far enough ahead of the midfield pack to be able to use him for a fastest lap attempt – which is exactly what happened in China, where they did pit him late in the race so he could set the fastest lap and gain that extra point.

            He’s pointing out that, in recent races, Red Bull cannot even rely on using Gasly to at least try and deny their opponents that extra point for a fastest lap by making a late pit stop, as now he’s usually been stuck behind the midfield drivers and can’t make a gap for himself to drop back into to make a pitstop without losing more places.

          2. XCM, try reading it again. You didn’t get it.

        4. Either Verstappen doesn’t want fast teammate or he already has some contact for a next year. May be will replace Vettel in Ferrari?

          1. @regs: I don’t see that happening. Leclerc and Verstappen in the same team is asking for disaster to happen.

          2. @alonshow
            Kvyat, not b Verstappen

          3. @regs: I cannot imagine why Ferrari would want to sign Kvyat. He’s struggling to stay in F1, a seat in a top team is out of the question unless he ups his game a lot.

      2. I’m surprised because RBR basically flushed away any chance of beating Red for #2 in the WCC.
        I like Albon but expect it will take him time to adjust to another car. It will be interesting to see if he has the same issues as Gasly which would prove the car is difficult to drive.
        Probably should have given Gasly the rest of the year – 12 races isn’t enough IMO.

    2. Sonny Crockett
      12th August 2019, 12:07

      If Albon’s results in the Red Bull are no better than Gasly’s then it would be proof positive that Max is overperforming.

      My suspicion is that Gasly was underperforming but that Max’s overperformance has exaggerated the difference.

      We shall see…

      1. it will prove nothing apart from the fact max has outperformed too very inexperienced drivers. don’t get me wrong, max is a megastar and my choice of driver of the year (so far), these kind of statements are just silly.

        to me this seems unnecessary – it will harm gasly’s confidence and could be too soon for albon, which will knock him back too. the whole sink-or-swim approach is pretty dumb, when you think about it. no wonder they burn through drivers.

        1. I suspect ‘these types of comments´ are coming from (my fellow) Dutchies.

          It’s precisely the type of embarrassing and cringe-worthy comments Dutch a ‘journalists’ make. Everything that happens in F1, to them, is a sign of Max’ brilliance and every other competitor, including Hamilton, are having to cry themselves to sleep and wake up from the sound of their own screaming, just because Max the superior has graced us all with his presence in the F1 paddock.

          In all seriousness though, I’m only half-joking. Most of the time they don’t even ask Max a question, they just paste 5 random superlatives after each other and then point the mic at him. It’s awful and most Dutch fans are brainwashed by it.

          1. Sonny Crockett
            12th August 2019, 13:04

            Firstly, I’m British.

            Secondly, I’m a McLaren fan and don’t have a particular driver that I follow (that only leads to intense pain when they leave for another team!)

            Thirdly, if you re-read my comments I am suggesting that Gasly was probably not getting the best out of the car but that it was made to look worse because Max was/is overperforming (a little like Alonso did in the past).

            Seem like a perfectly reasonable suggestion to me but do feel-free to over-react to these comments if you wish!

          2. @Sonny Crockett Like I said, I ‘suspect’ you are Dutch and clearly you are not.

            However, the point still stands. If Max trashes Albon as well, it really only proves that Max is better than two inexperienced guys and doesn’t necessarily say anything about how good Max is or isn’t. Dutch media and by extension Dutch fans, however, see everything as an explanation of Max’ superiority and if another driver does well they are keen to point out favorable outside factors and finish it off by saying ‘but he isn’t quite Max!’

            As for your point that Gasly’s underperformance relative to the car is exaggerated by VER outperforming it, that might be true or it might not be. There’s really no way to tell.

          3. I doubt RBR were expecting Gasly to be up there with Max, for he is exceptional, but it is about Max’s teammate, whoever that may be, at least doing more than Gasly has. They at least wanted to see him progressing and he hasn’t, so now Albon will have a chance to show progress, and at least some better points paying days. Doesn’t have to beat Max nor shadow him. Just has to do well and show progress and add more points for RBR’s WCC standing.

  1. Whoa. So it’s happened.

    I really sincerely wish Albon is mentally ready (and gets the support from the team) for the pressures of swimming in the deep end of the pool.

    I wouldn’t want to see him treated like Kvyat.

    That said, a well-deserved promotion!

    1. Wow. Red Bull are being adventurous!

      I’d say doing this is Red Bull thinking about the future of the team. Perhaps they hope in the short term Albon will bring the constructors points Gasly failed to do, and long term he may continue to improve stronger than he did too.

      Though can’t help but wonder they just made one driver out of four very happy and demoralised two of them.

      Can’t wait to see how this plays out.

      1. Though can’t help but wonder they just made one driver out of four very happy and demoralised two of them.

        On one hand, they likely acknowledge that Kvyat has just become a father, so some of his priorities and energies may well be focused elsewhere.

        On the other hand, Marko really doesn’t GAF about the drivers he manages.

        1. @optimaximal, there is something of an irony that the sort of comments that they were making about how they intended to “support” Gasly and insisting they would not change their driver line up were very similar to the sort of comments they made about Kvyat just before they dropped him from Red Bull back to Toro Rosso. If Marko is making those sorts of comments, it seems that is usually a sign for a driver that it’s a matter of when, not if, they’re going to be fired from the team…

          I do wonder whether Red Bull’s attitude, and especially Marko’s attitude, is not damaging the team more than it helps it. In the past, Marko could rely on a steady stream of hopeful drivers because Red Bull were the only game in town, but now they don’t have that luxury as other teams have started similar junior teams.

          Furthermore, in some ways it has been suggested that Red Bull’s junior team is lacking in some areas compared to other teams, particularly when it comes to teaching technical skills to their drivers – that has been suggested as one reason why few of their graduates have been able to find drives with other teams after being let go by Red Bull.

      2. Gasly is barely able to keep in front of Sainz, hopefully Albon will bring more points in fight with Ferrari for 2nd place in WCC.

    2. Something else that occurred to me is that this might actually influence the decision around Bottas’ extension.

      I made this comment before, that Mercedes will be cognizant of their competition in the form of Leclerc/Vettel at Ferrari and Max at RBR for 2020, and the threat the pose to the WCC. They can’t afford to keep leaning on Hamilton if Bottas reverts to v1.0, especially if Ferrari snap out of the perennial blues.

      Likewise, if RBR sort out their second driver, the threat to a Hamilton/Bottas combo increases.

      I’m not saying this means it might be Ocon coming in, rather it might be a Bottas vs. Russell decision for the Mercedes seat.

      1. @phylyp To be honest, Bottas 2.0 isn’t too great either. Better in qualifying, but is still extremely poor in races.

      2. no way in hell merc would replace one of their drivers for Russel????? has to be a joke…

    3. RBR has taken a good decision this time around. The second seat was already being wasted. Better to use it to evaluate another driver for next year or bring back Kvyat if things don’t go well for Albon.

      1. presuming RBR gives albon the rest of the season looks the best decision by far

        kvyat has really got his act together , maybe gasly will as well with less pressure ;presuming albon makes good progress pick the best to be number 2 to max next seaon when it will probably count !

  2. Basically he and Gasly have swapped places.

    1. How smart!

      1. At the time @ahxshades made his comment, the article did not include the following statement, it made no mention of who was filling the vacated TR seat:

        Gasly, who has lost his place at the top team just 12 races after being promoted to Red Bull from Toro Rosso, will return to the team he raced for last year.

        So, while it might be assumed they swapped seats, or obvious now with the updated article, Adrian’s statement was fair enough at that point in time. Your snark is not.

        1. Thanks for that @phylyp – that was indeed the case. Much appreciated.

  3. John Richards (@legardforpresident)
    12th August 2019, 11:24

    Redbull are clearly greedy with power. Sure, they have 4 drivers, but by unfairly putting Albon in the car, it’ll only glorify Gasly in the worse STR. The vicious cycle will only continue

    1. but by unfairly putting Albon in the car

      why unfair?
      Albon delivered and Gasly did not.

      1. Albon hasn’t delivered yet, has he? At Red Bull that is. I hope for his sake that he does even though I suspect Max will crush him.

        1. Albon surpassed the goals he had in TR. Het outqualified a very good qualifier ( ask Ricci) and collected a fait share of points in his first year in an F1 car.
          Of course its a gamble to put him in the Bull.

      2. Gasly had 10 points more at the same point last year, with arguably a worse car and definitely more engine penalties.

        Not saying Albon won’t be good, but I’ll hold the horses in just assuming he’ll do better in a car that may be more of a handful than Verstappen is getting credit for.

        In fact, I won’t be surprised if Gasly does even better than either Albon or Gasly have so far this year.

        1. “In fact, I won’t be surprised if Gasly does even better than either Albon or Gasly have so far this year.”

          If you mean Gasley will improve his performance after being turfed out of the big team, I doubt that will happen.

          I think Albon is a smart, fast, analytical driver and can make impressive progress in short order. I predict he’ll be closer to Verstappen than Gasley this year and could give him headaches next year….

      3. John Richards (@legardforpresident)
        13th August 2019, 8:26

        My only worry is that Gasly will suddenly look like a god when put back in an inferior STR, similar to how Kvyat suddenly looks glorified now that he’s back in the STR. Redbull are ruthless, its extremely unfair to young Alexander that he’s been thrown in the car and given all of 9 races to prove his mettle. He’s a talented young lad but I would’ve hoped RBR would’ve made the swap come 2020.

    2. @legardforpresident Looking at your postings, it is clear that you have a special dislike for Lewis Hamilton, and also for Albon.
      That’s a pattern if ever there was one.
      You know what you are – and you know where to take such attitudes to.

      1. John Richards (@legardforpresident)
        13th August 2019, 8:23

        You know, I always wondered if I would ever come across a troll. Now I finally found one. You must be clearly devoid of attention since I’ve only joined RaceFans until very recently. So unless you have some sort of psychic powers, I’d suggest you applied your misdirected energy to something more productive.

  4. Wow, what an opportunity for Albon; one that I really didn’t see coming. This time last year he wouldn’t have thought of this in his wildest dreams.

    I agree with the statement Red Bull made regarding having four drivers who can be switched around. Why not? Try Albon in the Red Bull, try Kvyat in the Red Bull, let Gasly find his feet again and then try him again. They have nothing to lose at the moment, guaranteed third and they need a good driver to be able to deliver second; currently that driver is not Gasly, but it might be Albon.

    They know that Albon hasn’t had a proper shot at it yet, nor has Gasly, so at the very worst, they’ll both surely be given time in the Toro Rosso to prepare again.

    1. Funny though that now the two Red Bull drivers are younger than their peers in the “junior” Toro Rosso team!

      1. As strange stats go, that’s a really strange one.

      2. Lewisham Milton
        12th August 2019, 13:24

        Don’t tell Helmut, he’ll fire them immediately and find two even younger Toro Rosso drivers!

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      12th August 2019, 13:37

      @ben-n it’s only an opportunity if he delivers against Verstappen. Verstappen had 2 years before he was promoted.

      Anyway, this is Albon’s golden ticket.

      1. I don’t think anyone expects him to beat Verstappen, especially in the next few races. If he can finish a convincing 6th then he’s already done better than Gasly and justifies the switch. Worst case, he heads back to Toro Rosso next season after a great experience in a top team.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          12th August 2019, 15:34

          @ben-n But will simply doing better than Gasly be enough for Albon’s career and for him to keep the seat? It’ll be better for Red Bull cause they’ll get more points and will get to have both Gasly and Albon drive the car.

          He’s gotta be very close in quali and race pace to Verstappen to make anyone take notice of him. Otherwise, they’ll all want Verstappen, not Albon.

          It’s not an easy road – you have to partner Messi and score 30 goals minimum in your 1st season or you’re out :-) It all depends on how comfortable Albon is in the car and how quick he is but this is a pretty demanding situation – we saw Ricciardo leave and now Gasly failed to deliver. Albon is a really likeable driver and I sure hope he rises to the occasion.

      2. @freelittlebirds One full season+four races actually.

        1. @ben-n I agree with what you are saying. I don’t think they ever expected Gasly to match or beat Max, but they expected better, and I’m going to assume that mainly they expected to see progress, and they haven’t seen enough of that with the amount of time and effort given to try to help Gasly get there.

          With Albon, of course they don’t know for sure how he’ll do, but he has a chance to show progress, which is all RBR want to see. They’ll have done a lot of ‘soul searching,’ as in, talking to Albon’s crew etc etc to suss out his state of being, and they likely figure they have little to lose given that Gasly simply has not shown the progress they need. He’s had his chance, and while many here are calling it cruel, it might be the best thing for him…we don’t know. He might welcome the opportunity to regroup if indeed he has felt lost and/or overly pressured in his own mind in trying to progress. For all we know this is indeed RBR looking after Gasly as well as themselves for the long haul.

  5. So, does that mean they are over-looking Kvyat

    1. Who knows, maybe he gets another turn at Red Bull when they feel disappointed if Albon doesn’t start winning within the next 3-5 raceweekends @akshay-it

      1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        12th August 2019, 14:44

        I don’t think they’ll expect Albon to win. I think they expect him to beat Sainz and end in the same lap Verstappen does.

      2. @bascb I suspect you’re being tongue in cheek but just to say I’m sure they are not expecting Albon to win races in this second half. Just do better than Gasly and show progression.

        1. :-) you got me there @robbie!

          Yeah, I surely hope that Red Bull rather thought that since they don’t see much progress (if any at all) coming with Gasly, they decided there was not much to lose by dropping in Albon to see whether he develops his skills faster/more/at all in the next months.
          If Gasly brings little points, then it’s probably reasonable to expect Albon not to do (much) worse.

    2. @akshay-it Maybe not.

      They know Kvyat as he’s been with them for 1.5 seasons and they know he was quick enough to keep up with Ricciardo (in fact he beat Dani in the standings). They also know he is now less crashy and more mature.

      Albon, on the other hand, they do not really know yet apart from the fact that he’s doing very well in his rookie season thus far. If this is really is just a 9 race trial run for Albon, then maybe the known quantity that is Kvyat, is their back-up plan if Albon doesn’t pass the test.

  6. Well, I don’t think this was too surprising really from the history of the team and it’s driver “consultant” Dr. Marko. I was never confident believing the “time until the end of the year” talk.

    Let’s just hope Albon is quick enough a learner to cope with the heaped up pressure and expectations to develop at his best potential.
    And I guess now Daniel Kvyat can give a lot of good advice to Pierre how to cope with being downgraded. Gasly surely is not a bad driver, he just was thrown in the deep end too soon and made to immediately go up against Max must be quite the challenge, especially in a team like Red Bull with their mentality only giving room for drivers who deliver immediately.

    1. Surely the ”thrown in the deep end” is just a lot of talk. You still drive a car. A better car even. You still have a team around you. A better team. ”Performing” is what you should do either way. A better car is not harder to drive. It’s just mostly nonsense talk. He just wasn’t good enough.

      1. @bascb @initially I think we all underestimate just how different F1 cars are these days, which makes switches between teams harder. They are so complex and there is so much technology in them that it must surely take longer than half a season to adapt to them.

        Given that, this move has the potential to destroy not only Gasly’s F1 career, but also Albon’s.

        1. They are so complex and there is so much technology in them that it must surely take longer than half a season to adapt to them.

          is that why MAX won hirst first race in the RedBull?

          1. Well, Erikje, Max had already tested at RBR, he had done a lot of simulator work too etc.

            And then – do we expect all drivers to be as good as Max is?

          2. @erikje The two Mercedes taking each other out played a non insignificant role in that result…

          3. @geemac, of course the mercs had something to do wih it. But you still have to perform and the way he defended against Kimi was impressive. Car handling, tire management all near perfect the first race in that car.

        2. It’s also easy to overestimate the significance some of the technology in the car has on driving it. I think well over 6 months of workhours should be plenty to learn buttons and switches. The tyres are the same between cars etc etc. I’m sure your rebuttle will be ”but different cars work the tyres differently” and all sorts of miniscule details.
          It sounds to me more like you’re making up excuses for Gasly. They wouldn’t replace him if he was good enough.

          1. digitalrurouni
            12th August 2019, 12:27

            Also Mercedes drivers toon each other out that race so that certainly helped.

      2. Sure, you still drive a car and are on the same grid. But being a successfull racer isn’t just about having a car, but a large part is also about being confident in your ability to use it.

        Being up against Max (or Lewis) must be pretty daunting for a beginning driver. No wonder Gasly had a tough time, especially in a team that is not good at supporting their driver with a good atmosphere when they are not the winner.
        Being dropped to STR – well you saw how it made Kvyat lose it almost completely.

        1. The speed of your team mate doesn’t really affect your speed. Not to the slower at least. At least it shouldn’t. Because already there you’re in big trouble.
          And about the non-supporting part, you’re simply going on hearsay and guesses. I’m pretty sure they do everything they can to make you collect points for the team. Makes no sense to handicap you further.

          1. Look, “Initially” you can think whatever you want.

            But that the atmosphere at RBR is less than supportive for many of their drivers has been shown so many times in the past decade that it is clearly not “hearsay and guesses”.

            It is a fact that almost all human beings perform better (i.e. get more out of the car, score more points) in an environment where they feel valued and supported.

          2. Mostly agree with this conversation but I’m of the opinion that RBR are not as ‘cruel’ to some drivers as some armchair enthusiasts assume. One could argue the very hiring of them to begin with shows they’re valued and supported. But of course that can only go so far when no progress is being shown and the support is not proving fruitful. Do we have actual quotes of former RBR drivers stating they were hard done by and are disgruntled about the process of the RBR junior program or about their tenure at STR or RBR or what have you? Or are these mainly assumptions based on things Horner or Marko have said that don’t always sit well with some fans? I’m of the opinion Webber had plenty of opportunity in a WCC car to do better vs SV than he did. At some point a team is going to support their driver who is winning more as a natural way to achieve Championships. MS is to some the GOAT and he needed teammates literally under contract to not compete against him, which to me made RBR with SV and MW a whole lot healthier as a team. Sorry didn’t really intend to go off on that tangent.

            And no, it is not just about learning the buttons and switches, as it is about hundreds of variables that all add up to how much a driver feels at one with his car and thus his confidence to throw it around and push it and have it do what he expects. Oh well….back on the tangent again just to say by all accounts it seemed that Newey’s exhaust blown diffuser work and how that made the car feel under braking particularly, simply suited SV better than MW.

    2. Every driver has an operating window, like with tyres, that allow for a variance in setup and style. Some prefer a front-loaded car, some a rear-loaded and some balanced (there are more variations). Some are especially sensitive to certain components like brakes. It’s partly down to the team to find a driver pairing that have complimentary styles, and that suits their car’s natural balance.

      Obviously some drivers have a wider natural window, and it may be that Gasly’s is comparatively narrow. But it isn’t fair to place the blame wholly on Gasly…

      Having said that, it also doesn’t mean that he’s a good fit for the team in its present guise.

  7. Makes perfect sense. Max is securing third place in the constructors by himself, Gasly is just wasting that seat at present.

    Albon or Kvyat leave Red Bull no worse off and they can test their potential far better in a race winning car against Verstappen than in the Toro Rosso.

    Absolute worst case they conclude Albon is no better than Gasly which is still better for them because they will know they need to look elsewhere for drivers.

    1. That ignores these are not machines but people. Who knows how Albon will cope with the pressure of beating/coming close to a driver of the calibre of Verstappen within a few races.
      And who knows whether Gasly won’t suffer a complete breakdown like Kvyat did? Then if Albon doesn’t live up to the sky high expectations (which RBR/Marko have of every driver to be of Vettel/Verstappen level) in a few races, will they downgrad Albon and put Kvyat in?

      But hey, survival of the fittest right. It’s a tough world out there on the grid.

      1. @bascb

        It is a tough world, but ultimately they’re still F1 level drivers. It’s not like Kvyat or Gasly were made dumped into unemployment. They still have uber lucrative opportunities at their feet. The Red Bull program has given us Vettel, Ricciardo, and Verstappen. It’s about finding race and championship winners, it’s obviously going to be a brutally adversarial environment and the wrong place for anyone who doesn’t thrive under that level of stress.

        As for Albon coping with the pressure, pretty much every other great driver has thrived when faced with that. Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Alonso, Räikkönen, Schumacher, Prost, Senna all thrived when the opportunity to win fell to them very early in their careers. I can’t think of any drivers worthy of a race winning car who haven’t.

        1. The Red Bull program has not given us Verstappen @philipgb.

          Verstappen joined the Red Bull family only when he got the STR drive, because they offered him a race seat while MErcedes at that time only offered a 3rd driver role. He had never had any ties with RBR before getting into F1 (apart from the sponsorship they put on his F3 car once he did sign for STR).
          The only think RBR did was get him on the grid about a year earlier.

          Vettel also wasn’t developed just by RBR, but had had ties to BMW first.

          And yeah, I agree that all top drivers have had to prove their mettle against other great drivers. But that doesn’t mean that I think the way RBR goes about it is the best way to do so. Look how a Sainz, Ricciardo walked away from them. Vergne won FE, he would have been there too. Look at how Norris is developing, Leclerc etc.

          Putting people in a pressure cooker might make sure only exceptional talents can survive it and thrive. I get that is the only thing they are interested in. But to me it means throwing away a huge heap of talent on the path to get there. It is not efficient at all.

          1. @bascb

            So Verstappen and Vettel didn’t feature in the Red Bull junior series programs, but Red Bull’s F1 program of the junior Toro Rosso team feeding into the main team is still what gave us those drivers and their results in F1

            As for waste of talen, the washouts from Red Bull still have racing careers most people could only dream of. There are only 20 F1 seats in the whole world with more drivers capable of performing in them than there are seats for. A high pressure environment isn’t wasting talent, those drivers still have the talent for other series, F1 just isn’t for them otherwise other teams would gladly snap them up

          2. Afaik Vettel was developed and supported by Red Bull and only loaned to BMW. See for example

          3. Red Bull asked Vergne to come back before they put Hartley in the car @philipgb. He declined because he was not impressed by their treatment.

            Look, i understand that RBR are only interested in success and finding the next Vettel. And apart from the way they treat the driver program, the team(s) are run expertly, clearly doing a better job at it than Ferrari for the last decade or so.
            And I love seeing how they are able to win races and push forward on track.
            But I don’t like their approach because for me drivers aren’t a throwaway article with the only purpose to win for their team. I feel it’s wasting a lot of talent that could have been the next Mika Häkkinen (for example). Schumacher also didn’t shine immediately compared to his teammates (in sportscars).

  8. I feel for Gasly, and don’t see how he can recover with that.
    Like @rdotquestionmark said, alongside Verstappen that seat is a career-ender.
    But wasn’t Helmut Marko saying the opposite no longer than a month ago?

    1. Maybe Red Bull want to have a go on the second place of the constructors and feel Gasly isn’t the man for that?

      1. @spoutnik
        I have the same feeling. There certainly was element of RBH trying to secure second place in the WCC while arriving at his swap. While we can certainly say Max is faster than Albon, but how much closer can Albon actually get ?? Assuming Albon is at least faster than Pierre, is it immediately going to result in Red Bull scoring more podiums ? I doubt. Nevertheless, one change i think is certain to happen–Max might not lap Albon; he doesn’t seem that slow.
        That being said, such sudden promotions and demotions hit the minds of the drivers very hard.
        Hope the burden of expectations doesn’t weigh Albon down. If nothing changes (Albon only being slightly quicker than Gasly though not getting lapped nor binning it), then this would be looked at as a ‘facepalm’ moment.
        As for Pierre, its a long road back i suppose.

        1. I think it’s more likely that RBR have concluded that the 2nd place in the championship is unreachable (unless Max does it mostly on his own) and therefore they can give Albon time to develop in the car as @hahostolze brings up. Expecting he won’t be doing much worse than Gasly @webtel, @spoutnik and hope they can boost his development.

          Tough challenge for both Gasly and Albon.

    2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      12th August 2019, 13:51

      Must admit, I’m shocked they’ve put Albon straight into the seat. Hadn’t they dropped him from their junior programme and just put him in the Toro Rosso out of desperation in the first place already? He has impressed and I guess it’s just a roll of the dice for them.

  9. About time.

    I foresee that Kvyat outperforms Gasly easily in Toro Rosso.

    In my 10 cent Kvyat would be better for the task at hand at Red Bull. That could still come, as a 3rd round of this, if Albon ends in same situation as Gasly.

  10. So now Albon gets half a season to get used to the car. He can’t do worse than Gasly tbh

  11. So Max win at Spa confirmed? ;)

    1. LOL indeed @phylyp, it has to happen now.

    2. I thought it was only when Kvyat was demoted, @phylyp
      But I guess this is what Dr. Marko is really testing ;)

      1. It’s called the scientific method, @coldfly

        He’s not called “Doctor” for nothing ;)

  12. This is just incredible. They’re simply digging the hole deeper and deeper.
    This is simply hilarious, at best.

    1. Not really. They need some points from their second car, and Gasly simply wasn’t delivering.

  13. Literally 7 days ago:

    “Horner said the team is not planning to replace him this season.

    “Our intention is to leave in the car to the end of the year,” he said.”

    1. Horner does not have a say in this; its just DrMarco & the RedBull Boss who decide.

    2. plans change. and you cant always do what you intend. you could see that Horner was choosing his words carefully.

    3. Read that again. No concrete “we’re not replacing him”, they were always going to demote him

      1. One could argue that as a sign they were indeed giving Gasly support and a chance to show progress, they stated publicly that they weren’t planning to replace him and that they didn’t intend to, because stating anything else when asked would indeed get back to Gasly and undermine his confidence. It may well have been that last race which was the last straw and changed their minds on Gasly. I would suggest they would not have even wanted to start a conversation with Albon until giving Gasly that last race (without him knowing that literally it was his last test) to see how he might progress. Gasly likely will accept that he just didn’t do enough, and RBR figures they have nothing to lose in their attempt to achieve second in the WCC. For all we know this may be just what the doctor ordered (pardon the pun) for Gasly to regroup and get his confidence back. It might be a real waker upper for him. They might well have had a very constructive discussion with Gasly about everything and it may not at all have been like a chopping block to his psyche. He would already have inherently known he was at risk, and known that it was not for lack of help, support, nor opportunity.

    4. It might have been during the lead up to the Hungarian GP that I heard the Sky commentators ask Christian about whether Pierre had access to all the data he needed to improve his lap times, and he said they did and that he had access to Max’s tracking data as well as his own.
      If the Sky commentators could tell Pierre was likely to loose his seat then it is almost certain he should have known he could be dumped at any time, so knew he needed to be finishing better than 6th place. Unfortunately he’s only done that twice this year.

  14. I really feel for Kvyat.

    Was pushed out for Max while under-performing but frankly, was nowhere near as bad as Gasly, who got a half season of awful performance.

    I feel Kvyat would’ve been a safer bet and then maybe giving Albon the seat next year, but hey. I wish Albon all the best, and hope he can step up. I’m sure he can.

    So, people who all said that Gasly would definitely be in the RBR for the entire year, 100%, cast iron. Where are you now? Awful drivers attract fans to suit, I suppose.

    1. Hm, i get what you say there @stopitrawr, but I can see a positive for Kvyat too.

      First of all they DID ask him back into F1. This is about Marko’s ego too IMO. Promoting Kvyat would clearly be admitting a mistake to him.

      And while they (RBR/Marko) now still cannot admit they might have been wrong (when they booted him for “hitting Vettel twice” to make place to promote Max), he can clearly point to how Gasly did worse.

      Also it shows that they have to rely on Kvyat to help avoid Gasly breaking down like he himself did after that bad treatment. And if Albon is now promoted (Marko loves quickly developing drivers), doesn’t that also show that Kvyat himself is good enough, since the STR drivers are close enough this year that it could have been either.

      1. Indeed it does.

        I feel that either way, one of the drivers would’ve had a case for the RBR seat. I feel that Kvyat has really matured this year, and deserves a shot. But then Albon has been great this year, and does too. Again I wish them both well, and I’m 100% positive that Albon will show that the car isn’t just a Max machine, and Gasly will have to further explain why a literal rookie can perform in a car that he could not.

    2. Well, potentially he might get that seat next year if Albon can’t convince them @stopitrawr, though then I’d say that’s prove Albon, like Kvyat and Gasly wasn’t treated right by the team – I suppose then at least Kvyat shows them both they can recover from that?

      1. Indeed.

        Gasly needs to step up now. If he’s shown to have his pants pulled down by Albon, I think he’ll need to pull more than a Kvyat to keep a Red Bull drive of any sort. He needs to beat Kvyat also, otherwise he will be 3rd in line for the 2020 RBR seat.

        Time will obviously tell.

    3. As “N” pointed out in the comment directly above yours, Horner pretty much confirmed Gasly would be in the seat for the rest of the season only a week ago.

      There is no place in this community for comments like that.

      1. Nah. I was personally abused for stating that Gasly was not a special driver, and that if Kvyat was treated like this, then Gasly deserves the same harsh but equal treatment. I make no apologies for pointing out that reality exists, and that Gasly is not RBR level.

    4. @stopitrawr

      The Kvyat/Verstappen swap was more about securing Verstappen in a long term contract than simply frustration with Kvyat’s performance. He’d not long since scored a podium but Red Bull were faced with the opportunity of securing Max for their long term plans and in fairness that decision more than paid for itself.

      This time around I’m not wholly convinced they smell a winner in Albon but they have the luxury of a large driver stable and almost no risk in championship position. It’s a sensible move because they’ve pretty much ruled out Gasly as a future star, better to gauge Albon up against Verstappen now than wait until next season.

      1. While true, it was still very hard on Kvyat. Going by the same metric, RBR have been 2.5x more patient with Gasly, and have not been repaid.

        As you say though, RBR is for great or future great drivers. While Albon is an unknown quantity, Gasly is clearly not the level required to be a RBR driver now, and needs to prove that he can be, given that he is still in a drive for this season.

        1. @stopitrawr

          Kvyat got all of 2015 as well where he actually beat Ricciardo so if anything his early season demotion was massively less fair. But again I don’t think they simply lost patience with him, they were just super keen on getting Verstappen promoted

          Gasly on the other hand I think they’ve just lost faith in

          1. I didn’t count 2015 because as you point out, he was doing as well as his teammate.

            As you can’t be dropped for doing the same job as the other car, it was only 2016 where he dropped the ball hard. However, he didn’t get a chance to pit it up again. Gasly has arguably never picked up the ball, having never beaten Max by Merit this season. Even Kvyat managed this in 2016 against Ric once before being dropped.

  15. Sound decision by Red Bull, half a season for Gasly should have been ample time for him to adapt and show some potential. It didn’t happen. Likewise the remaining races should be enough for them to decide if Albon should stay put or they actually need a third driver. Red Bull need to determine this for next year and, perhaps, a real championship battle.

    1. That’s my thinking too. Mercedes are still to strong for red bull this year and they know it. However next year…..

      Red bull can use the rest of the year to fine tune everythingand give them a decent shot next year.

  16. I think its really hypocritical of Red Bull to do this – remember after Max was promoted and he went through his spell of poor performances and crashes… there wasnt even a sniff of him being re-demoted back to Torro Rosso

    I have never had much liking for the upper reaches of management at Red Bull – this just further affirms, although I am sure they will lose little sleep over it

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      12th August 2019, 11:40

      Mainly because he was being quicker than Ricciardo.

      1. Well and because at the time they really didn’t have anyone able to step up at STR either

    2. @unklegsif

      I think its really hypocritical of Red Bull to do this – remember after Max was promoted and he went through his spell of poor performances and crashes… there wasn’t even a sniff of him being re-demoted back to Torro Rosso

      Firstly, he immediately won a race when he was promoted.

      Secondly, if the RB driver program had shown any disapproval of Max at the time, he’d have just jumped ship to Mercedes. Don’t be under any illusion that the Verstappen’s are intrinsically ‘allied’ to Red Bull – Max and his ol’ da’ will simply follow the best drive available if timing and contracts allow.

    3. @unklegsif

      Except on his promotion Verstappen won his first race, always kept touch with Ricciardo from a performance point of view though as you say was a little rough around the edges with incidents, but that’s something we see drivers improve on. Verstappen, Vettel, even Hamilton had spells in their careers where they were incident prone but that’s the sort of thing we know drivers improve on. Raw pace is something they either do or don’t have and Gasly is so far behind Verstappen I’m not sure he’d ever have developed into another special driver

      1. Except on his promotion Verstappen won his first race

        Yes…. thanks to a massive dollop of Rosberg getting his knickers in a twist and trying hustle Hamilton off the track

        1. @unklegsif

          But even then he was still fighting against Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Vettel for the victory. The good fortune of the Mercedes drivers not keeping out of each others way aside, he took an excellent victory and let’s remember that the only other non Mercedes victory that season was a gift of Hamiltons engine going bang

    4. @unklegsif that spell of bad performances from Verstappen, when was that? Apart from the whole crashing thing in Monaco immediately after winning his first race, his 2016 was pretty darn good, and he ended the season firmly ahead of Ric on pace. Unless you think that his early 2018 issues should have given cause for demotion…

    5. You are confusing pace with incidents, just to mention two variables. There are many more that round up the total performance of a driver

  17. Does that mean Kvyat refused to move over? I have a hard time seeing logic in choosing Alex or Kvyat at this point.

  18. Marko’s brutality continues! Quite surprised by that, I assumed Red Bull would wait till the end of the season to make a switch.

    I rate Albon, but he is no more ready for this step up than Gasly was at the start of the season. Kvyat has shown just how much of an impact being promoted too quickly and then demoted can have on a driver’s mentality. I seriously hope this move doesn’t ruin the careers of two more promising young drivers. Only time will tell.

    1. One does have to feel for these young drivers @geemac. Will Kvyat get the call when in a few races Albon hasn’t been able to do much better than Gasly?

      I’m not really surprised they made this step though, Marko always want’s to see drivers quickly developing. And Gasly didn’t seemed to be going anywhere forward in his performance (in the few races since he had that good silverstone showing) so they just ax him.

      Once can only hope that Kvyat at least will be able to give Gasly some good advice on how to cope with the situation. And hope that Albon does show the development, or we might start hearing rumours of him being replaced by the time we turn up in Austin!

    2. Considering that Kvyat has withstood a demotion, loss of a drive only to come back a better driver, it appears like the brutal approach has worked.

  19. This is a terrible decision. I doubt that Albon is much better than Gasly. They’re dumping him way too soon. Albon will suffer as much in comparison with Verstappen, and then what? That’s one career ruined after 11 races for RBR, and the other… Red Bull’s ‘flavour of the day’ policy is absurd.

    1. With the quality of Verstappen, it’s quite likely Albon won’t be doing great compared to him either, isn’t it @hahostolze.

      I agree that it’s quite likely too much pressure for Albon far too soon.

      Not a great approach to driver development IMO.

      1. @bascb I see an upside only IF they don’t demand Albon improve on Gasly, and instead use this just to see how he does. But that’s not how they do. At the end of this season they’ll still conclude that Albon isn’t Verstappen either. And then they’ll ask, who else can we get? And that person mostly likely won’t beat Verstappen, either.
        Either way, Gasly has gone from the next golden boy after a great 2018 to career essentially stalled or over. It’s truly terrible driver development. Marko is deranged.

      2. Controversial opinion time.

        Albon will cope with Max but obviously not quite match him. However we will not see him lapped by Max when no incidents occur to harm Albon during a race.

        Kvyat will show Gasly a pair of heels.

        Pressure makes or breaks a driver. The narrative of “HE was promoted too soon” has been completely debunked by Albon, Norris, Russell, Max himself, Hamilton, and many others over the years.

        Gasly is not good enough, and this will be proven now, and the current hand wringing of “But they’re so mean to Gasly” will be shown to be nonsense.

    2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      12th August 2019, 11:52

      I’m inclined to agree. Seems like a great way to shatter the confidence of 3 drivers in one swoop. Gasly for being demoted, Kvyat for being overlooked, and Albon when he also cant break the top 5.
      I do rate Albon but this is a little hasty.

      1. @fullcourseaction I rate Albon very, very highly. But in his junior career, and at STR, he’s not shown one thing Gasly hasn’t shown or in fact bettered. Gasly may have trouble adapting to the car, may have trouble speaking his mind, but even if Albon doesn’t have those two things, I doubt he really has more talent. So, how is he going to improve enough to not lose out here?

        1. @fullcoursecaution sorry, mistyped your handle ;-)

          1. @hahostolze – your typo and the actual handle is the difference between what F1 fans want and what we often get :)

          2. @phylyp whishful thinking turned nominative determinism ;-)

          3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            12th August 2019, 13:03

            Haha very true @phylyp

            @hahostolze Norris and Russell also rate him very highly from karting. Apparently Lando, being a few years younger, has a picture of Alex on his wall at home as he was the driver he aspired towards. I definitely think Albon is bona fide F1 calibre, but this promotion could be a poisoned chalice. Max has left a path of destruction in his rise up the RB ranks:

            JEV – let go to make room for Max at TR
            Kvyat – demoted to make room for max at RB
            Sainz – left RB group because no progession + a bit of fallout between camps
            Ricciardo – left rather than play second fiddle to Max
            Gasly – demoted because comparison with Max was poor

            Albon is more than likely just the next sacrificial lamb. Thing is, if Max leaves Red Bull before they get a title together, Christian and Marko will look back at that list of corpses and regret putting all their eggs in one basket

  20. I can see the kvyat downfall happening to Gasly and Albon (if he doesn’t deliver and gets dropped end of this season or mid next).

    Kvyat got lucky that tororosso didn’t have any driver options, Gasly or Albon may not have that opportunity IF they get completely dropped.
    This is the worst case scenario that could happen for both drivers.

  21. Red Bull Racing – “We have no plans to replace Gasly for the remainder of 2019”
    Also Red Bull Racing – “Albon is replacing Gasly for the remainder of 2019”

    What a difference a week makes… lol

    Pls note I’m not saying they should’ve kept Gasly, and I’m not calling them hypocrites. Im just saying its kinda funny lol.

    1. Yes, because the phrase “The dreaded vote of confidence” exists for a reason.

      When you’ve got your bosses publicly telling people your position is safe, you’re fired.

  22. Excellent news.

    I would of expected them more likely to have put Kvyat in the seat but I’m delighted to see them giving Albon a chance at it.

    1. @nullapax
      Kvyat aint going anywhere and he has already been in that seat so for now it makes much more sense to try Albon out.

  23. Kvyat is the living proof that once you are swapped into the program, you are done.

    He is still there, he is doing a good job and he isnt even considered for anything better than filling a seat in the “tests team” (thats what STR really is).

  24. Finally!
    It took them too long, frankly.

    To those wondering about Kvyat – sorry, guys\girls, this guy already blew his chance once with RBR.
    He was taken back to TR only because Red Bull doesn’t have ANYONE at all to drive for them. They are not naïve to move him to RBR again so soon and experience the same again.
    They promote Albon, see how he copes, and decide in 9 races what to do next.

    Though my bet will be on them getting some non-RBR-grown driver. Hulkenberg, Ocon (if he is let go by Mercs)…

    1. Blew his chance? You are mad, kvyat equalled ricciardo in terms of pace when they spent time together at RB. Thats the same Ricciardo that Horner was willing to give any amount of money to keep.

      1. Haha equaled interms of pace? Do me a favour… He beat him on points though 1 year but on pace? HAHA

  25. I think it is too soon for Albon.
    Very little upsides for him other than enjoying the time until quali in Spa.

    Even early promoted super talents (Verstappen and LeClerc) have made their mistakes during the first year(s).
    I cannot see Albon to be immune to that.
    Also with Verstappen being superb this season it can only be expected that Albon’s inner team statistics will not be too favourable during the rest of the season.

    I can only hope for a miracle now: HAM/BOT to crash out on lap 1 and Albon winning Spa.

    1. @coldfly

      Mistakes are fine. Verstappen only really cracked it as a driver after Monaco last year. That was 3 1/2 seasons of inconsistent races.

      Hamilton only really got into his current form in 2012, 2011 was also inconsistent so that was 4 years.

      Drivers just don’t suddenly find pace though, not of the order Gasly would need to find. So I think Red Bull would be less bothered about Albon having incidents if he’s closer to Verstappen and shows he improves on performance than Gasly having as large a gulf to Verstappen as he has with little sign it would improve.

      1. @philipgb

        I must have missed something, so would you be so nice and explain to me what those “3 1/2 seasons of inconsistent races” refer too?

        1. I don’t have a clue either. It’s like saying “Hamilton was subpar in 2011 so everything he did before that is also subpar”.

          Verstappen was prone to mistakes before Monaco last year, but he was already a great driver to have on your team regardless of that. Now he is even better.

          Gasly on the other hand is plain slow. He is not mistake prone, he is slow. A flaw much harder to solve.

          1. I guess he still believes the “Max is overdriving his car and therefor causing all his mechanical retirements” myth from 2017……

  26. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    12th August 2019, 12:03

    So Toro Rosso is no longer a proving ground for young drivers, but a place for drivers who have underperformed in a big team to get their mental strength back and redeem themselves. Got it.

    1. At least he gets a softer landing than Bottas.

  27. Well at least at RBR young talent actually gets a go.

    Has taken years before Ferrari did this and Mercedes is still yet to do it.

    Like it or not young talent actually get opportunities at Red Bull. They don’t need daddy money or huge sponsors to get an undeserving pay drive like some others.

    1. @dbradock

      Has taken years before Ferrari did this

      Well that isn’t really very fair, they had two promising young drivers before Leclerc. Perez who was placed at Sauber and decided to leave the FDA for McLaren instead of waiting for his shot, and Bianci…..

      1. I take your point point but I still think its fair,

        I really don’t think they were seriously looking at putting Perez in their car (which is one of the reasons he jumped to McLaren) and with Jules we’ll never know.

        Its still a fact that they have only just gotten around to putting a young driver in their car. I’m sure they would’ve with Jules but whether it would have been quickly or whether they’d have kept him waiting for a couple more seasons is a bit of an unknown.

  28. Honestly I’m surprised Gasly even made it to GP2 with Red Bull given his run of results in the years prior. He nearly lost the title to a rookie Giovinazzi and before that hadn’t won a race in three years.

    Seems like whatever clout he had over Marko is gone. Should have been dropped in 2015.

  29. Jose Lopes da Silva
    12th August 2019, 12:06

    “That ignores these are not machines but people.”
    “he is no more ready for this step up than Gasly was at the start of the season. ”
    “he just was thrown in the deep end too soon and made to immediately go up against Max must be quite the challenge”
    “Seems like a great way to shatter the confidence of 3 drivers in one swoop.”

    I can’t understand this position. And I really can’t understand the hypocrisy accusations.
    F1 drivers are people, but they are not common people. They should be machines, rather than people. Protecting people from failures is something that we should do in the society, where at a point (not interested in discussing politics or pholosophy here) we should look and care for everyone.

    But F1 is not the wider society. It’s a place for fierce competition. There are thousands or millions of drivers dreaming of getting in one of those 19 seats.

    It’s sad that after giving place to so many talented people over a decade and a half, Red Bull continues to be criticised. Way more than F1 for allowing Lawrence Stroll to buy a team for his son. And to deny Marciello a career for evident lack of sponsoring. Because Red Bull is searching for… world champions (they should be looking for what?). Where would Brendon Hartley get a seat in F1 aside from Toro Rosso?

    I never heard this criticism when Félix da Costa was set aside for Kvyat in 2014. For obvious reasons: if you’re not in F1, you’re not in the spotlight. Why should F1 drivers be more protected that drivers from lower tiers? F1 is for the very best.

    I never hear this criticism when a football player is under-performing, the managers sets him in the bench and the club dismisses him at the end of the season. What I hear is “get that guy out, now!”

    And, still, I never hear this kind of talk about Verstappen, which was fast from the very beginning in 2015. By the way, if the 3 Red Bull drivers don’t feel confident that they can beat Verstappen in the same car, what are they doing in F1? What kind of path can lead them to wins? Could they, at least, work so they can earn a place in a Renault?

    If only Roberto Moreno had a “Benetton B” team when he was kicked out in 1991.

    1. Well Jose Lopez da Silva, that you haven’t heard the critisizm when da Costa was dropped out of the program, doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. And the same goes for those football players you mention.

      And I get that teams are looking for winners. But it is not the best and certainly not the most efficient, way to find those drivers if you just put them in the car and add pressure to perform.

      Some can cope – Max is not a good example, because it was him and his family pushing Red Bull, not the other way. And Red Bull never had to invest in him, he only joined when he signed for STR because Mercedes wasn’t willing to give him an F1 car right away.

      But many others need more time, they need to develop their skills etc. Look at mistakes Leclerc made this year, or mistakes Max made in his first few years. You need to give people time to learn. Because F1 IS hard and with no testing programmes, no driver can just step into F1 and start winning right away. Even if you give them a top car.

      The RBR approach means that you throw away a lot of money you invested in drivers who you then throw away in half a year (see how long RBR supported Sainz, Vergne, indeed Da Costa, Gasly, and many, many others and add up the money).

      And it also means that you throw away any drivers who don’t deliver immediately. Just look at that example of Hartley. The only reason he was in hte car, was because RBR burnt bridges with too many better drivers who didn’t want to be at their team because of their treatment of drivers. Vergne confirmed he declined to come back after winning his FE title, for example.

      You can like their approach. I don’t.

      1. But Leclerc has outpaced Vettel repeatedly in qualifying and races.

        I’ll say this again: Gasly has not beaten Max by merit once this season.

        Making mistakes is fine, that’s part of development. Being unable to overtake a McLaren while your teammate is winning races is not.

        Being lapped by your teammate without an incident is unacceptable

        Being lapped in two races in quick succession? Nah.

      2. Also no driver can go into F1 and start winning?

        Are you forgetting one Lewis Hamilton?

        That was in a day before the cars had 100’s of engineers calculating every variable and telling drivers every engine mode, brake balance change and detail required at the push of the pit to car radio button.

        1. @stopitrawr

          Are you forgetting one Lewis Hamilton?

          LOL, that is not a valid comparison, Hamilton had 1000’s of miles of testing before he ever got near an actual race. Drivers nowadays do not have that luxury.

      3. Jose Lopes da Silva
        12th August 2019, 13:22

        Leclerc is a great example. He needed three races to understand the Sauber and to perform alongside Ericsson at a level no other Ericsson teammate had achieved. At Ferrari, adaptation was even quicker. It would take an awful load of errors for Ferrari to lose faith in him because it’s clear he is quick.

        He’s not winning races. The question is never about winning races. It’s if the driver performs at a high level or not.

        I have a higher respect for Formula E than most people and I fully respect Vergne’s decision. However, he might have been driving a Red Bull in Spa, instead of Albon.

        1. It would take an awful load of errors for Ferrari to lose faith in him because it’s clear he is quick.

          he is on a streak, so do not hold your breath.
          He made several stupid and very costly mistakes and there are some issues with his driving style. So not sure if Ferrari will keep him is things do not improve.

    2. Yes you fail to understand that first ALB was chosen because Red bull comes where he comes from and second that if RBR would have been smart, they would have tested GAS, ALB and KVY on the redbull car to see which one drives Max’s car better. Instead they pick randomly GAS, then show no support for him and hopes GAS would change his driving style to MAX out of the blue.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        12th August 2019, 13:09

        “show no support for him”. What does this mean?

        Does this mean Verstappen as a hidden technology unknown to Gasly, like Schumacher had a system unavailable to Jos and Lehto?
        Does this mean Gasly does not have access to Verstappen data, like Herbert did not have access to Schumacher’s data?
        What does that mean?

      2. Yes you fail to understand that first ALB was chosen because Red bull comes where he comes from

        Went to school in Ipswich and as far as I know doesnt speak Thai, so at best a symbolic gesture

    3. It’s sad that after giving place to so many talented people over a decade and a half, Red Bull continues to be criticised. Way more than F1 for allowing Lawrence Stroll to buy a team for his son.

      This is a very good point actually. I hadn’t looked at it that way yet.

  30. I can’t say I agree with the decision but I’ll be interested to see how Albon does. Just hope Gasly doesn’t crumble completely like Kvyat did after his demotion (though he’s come back stronger for it)

  31. Albon has shown some great speed and maturity for his first year, even from winter testing he was on it from day one. I’ve no doubt he’ll be much better than Gastly.

    Only issue it that he seems a humble and quiet guy in interviews so I just hope he can let the pressure wash over him and get his elbows out when needed.

  32. Hope it is not same error as last year, they have option for more experienced racer (Carlos) but chose younger one

    1. @mrrism And just how did Carlos get his experience?

  33. Wow, congrats to Alex, that’s some mighty career development for him, I just hope it’s not too soon.

    From 3rd in F2 last year to RedBull seat alongside VER by mid-season, that’s probably the fastest climb I’ve seen in F1. Poor Russell though, having to get out of the way to be lapped by his old “foes” Norris and Albon…

    1. @gechichan the fact that guys like Russel (and Ocon and Norris) can’t even be considered by another team because he’s part of one team’s jr. program makes me think that team-specific jr. team’s as a system is not good for autosport in general and F1 in particular. It also forces RedBull to only pick from their own stable.

      I mean, if given a free choice at the start of the season would Christian Horner have chosen Gasly over Russell, Noris or a more experienced driver after RIC left? Would Sauber have chosen Giovinazzi over Ocon or maybe Vandoorne if they were not effectively Ferrari’s B-team? It’s already bad enough that Racing Point is forced to employ an F1 unworthy driver because his dad now owns the team….

  34. I love how the lack of support for GAS make him slow, so RBR just tries other drivers who will equally fail. Do you think RBR will reconsider their behavior with the drivers once they all their drivers but max can drive fast in the RBR?

    1. I love how the lack of support for GAS make him slow,

      Thats gossip at best. Red bull invested a lot of time in Gasly. They would be really stupid if a driver looses it because of to little support.

  35. I love how the lack of support for GAS make him slow, so RBR just tries other drivers who will equally fail. Do you think RBR will reconsider their behavior with the drivers once they all their drivers but max can drive fast in the RBR?

    1. *cannot drive fast ofc

      1. so you use multiple accounts to spread your gossip here..
        Thats considered trolling.

  36. That’s the douchiest decision possible and I doubt it will work for any of the three drivers concerned (Albon, Gasly and Kvyat).

    It’s douchy on so many levels – why claim Gasly was not going to be dropped before the end of 2019 with such vigour and do exactly that, why throw an anexperienced guy in that situation and expect him to do bether, why not Kvyat…

    A very low point for RBR, but I wish Alex all the best. Hopefully he understands he can expect the same for himself. I did criticize Pierre a lot as uring the past couple of months, but I wish him all the best, too. Hard to imagine how he’ll stay motivated after that.

    1. @jjlehto

      why not Kvyat…

      Perhaps because Albon as an absolute rookie has pretty much matched Kvyat from the off?

  37. I didn’t see this coming at all especially given Dr. Marko’s words about the intention being the keep the same line-ups for the remainder of the season, but I guess he changed his mind after all. What’s perhaps even weirder is that it’s Albon’s who’s going to be in the second RBR-car instead of Kvyat.

    1. ‘to keep’

      1. @jerejj

        I didn’t see this coming at all especially given Dr. Marko’s words about the intention being the keep the same line-ups for the remainder of the season

        Your kidding right? Marko and Horner couldn’t lie straight in bed.

    2. Not weird at all. Kvyat got kicked out with such fanfare that he will never see the inside of the RedBull garage ever again.

      Gasly may have a chance if he proves himself yet again, although, I suspect the bar will be set quite high for him to achieve.

      Albon, I sincerely hope he is not being thrown to the lions here.
      Fact still remains that the first time he ever turned the wheel of an F1 car was in March ’19. I sincerely hope he does well, he has proven himself to be a very capable rookie but this promotion may be much too early. If he mixes it up with the Ferraris somewhat regularly he will have succeeded in everything expected of him, possibly even surpassing those expectations.

      PS: RedBull management and their handling of drivers is now officially the most disgusting on the grid, by far!

  38. walter bravenboer
    12th August 2019, 13:04

    I kind of suspect there have been discussions, perhaps Gasly was also involved in deciding this, it gives him the chance to rebuild his confidence, releasing pressure and working with people he knows from last year.
    Albon gets now a chance to prove himself in the A-car, nobody expects him to go for the podium, but to get at least 6th place. RBR needs points for the Constructors Championship. Should he fail also, perhaps they will look elsewhere.
    It is a hard world, I really feel for Gasly, but if you are in a top-team, you have to perform. Bottas and LeClerc have shown that even with a strong teammate you can still perform very well.

  39. Remember that Gasly has complained all season about the way the car handles. That it suits Max but not his driving, how he’s not confident putting the power down. Which is obviously not ideal if you want to be a champion but all lead/top drivers do, create a car for them and then good luck to their teammates.

    Maybe RBR has been analysing how Albon’s driving style would fit into the RB’s car (you got simulators after all), and decided that he may be prepared to work with that car. And given Gasly’s performance so far, it’s not like they have much to lose, specially when you are ruthless with your drivers.

    1. Well done @nordic, an excellent analysis and the introduction of the only new aspect of the driver problem (driving styles/ versus car characteristics) amid lots of speculative musings from supporters of particular drivers.

    2. Great comment @nordic

  40. So Toro Rosso has two bench warmers deemed not good enough for RedBull main team.
    Toto’s “Ocon conundrum” has been resolved: Ocon will be out of Mercedes program and planted into the Toro Rosso to carve out a career for himself. Hell, they may even allow him to drive despite the Mercedes partnership if given enough money.

  41. R.I.P Albon’s career

    1. One that probably wouldn’t have existed without Red Bull in the first place, not to the level of getting to F1 anyway.

  42. I think this was a done deal after Hungary, had a reasonably paced RedBull been behind Hamilton he couldn’t have won that race imo. I think Red Bull have had to just admit that Gasly was not going to beat the Ferrari’s which they need if they’re to finish second and it will also provide more support and tactical options for Verstappen if closer on pace.

    At the end of the day half a season is more than enough for a team to analyse a drivers performance. The dropping of Perez and Magnussen by Mclaren was seen as harsh but time has proven neither driver have made the cut as a top tier F1 driver. We sometimes forget the amount of data the teams have to analyse drivers. I suspect the big issue is Gasly just doesn’t have the technical feedback needed to make it to the top.

  43. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    12th August 2019, 13:40

    Sainz must be thinking to himself – really there are 2 available seats at Red Bull within a season after I leave?

    Is this some kind of joke? I can’t imagine what Alonso is thinking – a rookie is getting a race winning seat.

    1. Luckily we do not need to imagine what Horner has to say about this topic:
      “I’ve got huge respect for Fernando, he’s a great, fantastic driver, but it would be very difficult to see,” Horner said. “He’s tended to cause a bit of chaos wherever he’s gone. “I’m not sure it would be the healthiest thing for the team for Fernando to join. “Our preference would be to continue to invest in youth [rather] than take a driver who is obviously close to the end of his career.”

      Those were Horner’s publicly stated comments last year, after RIC dropped a big steaming one on Horner’s desk.

      Every team Alonso has raced for, saw their performance steadily decline during his tenure at said team. And all of them started bouncing back performance-wise after his departure. But, fanboys gonna fanboy, I guess.

  44. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    12th August 2019, 14:05

    Okay, wow, this is both unexpected and completely as was to be expected…
    Let’s hope Albon performs and RB doesn’t ruin 2 careers in one season

  45. I am quite surprised. I honestly thought they would leave Gasly at RBR for the rest of the season.

    I do wonder if they have made a mistake by promoting Albon so soon. This does put a lot of pressure on him as he must realise this is his big opportunity. I would have given Kvyat a second chance as I think the extra experience he has would have helped him to adapt more quickly.

    The atmosphere at Torro Rosso is going to dismal as well I imagine. Gasly feeling demotivated and Kvyat feeling he won’t get another chance. Helmut Marko does appear to be a real piece of work.

    Good luck to Albon though. I hope he succeeds.

  46. I don’t get it. If they’re going to throw a driver under the bus, why not Kvyat?
    Giving him the seat back based on performance. It would be fair and wise of them.

  47. A career defining moment for Albon. I am sure the objective would be to consistently remain in points and bring in the second car into strategic play at some of the upcoming circuits as RBR challenge Ferrari.
    Curious because both Max and Albon are driving the Honda power unit for the first time unlike Gasly.

  48. I like it. Not for RBR or any of the drivers involved but in general, shakes things up in F1, don’t it ?
    Full confession, this year is more of a chore to stay interested than any previous 35. The summer break couldn’t have come any sooner. Yes, the last few races have been brilliant and Max stepping up is fantastic but AMG and HAM are only going to be out of the championships by their own faults or, deities forbid, some unfortunate Force Majeure. I will watch the races on Sundays as always, but this year I lost the other sessions even before the European leg.
    What I’m saying is do more things, experiment with more radical ideas, play it unsafe. This is such a move, albeit somewhat predictable

  49. Horner: Verstappen and Red Bull saved F1 from borefest but Dr. Marko made twitchy RBR driver carousel a borefest.

  50. I see a few mentions about how the Red Bull system doesn’t care much about drivers, chews up and spits them out. It seems the obvious, compassionate position for these poor young drivers, forced out of the F1 stable to suffer a mere dream come true career in other racing categories.

    But how much do these drivers reciprocate that missing compassion for their teams? Does Gasly care that he’s costing Red Bull 2nd place with his results? I suspect most drivers are selfish when it comes down to it, wanting what’s best for them and their careers.

    Red Bull is a team of hundreds of people, each delivering their best to try to be the best F1 team. Gasly’s results don’t just hurt the team bosses, they hurt every member of the team. Those guys changing tyres in record time? Not much consolation when the car you just did that for gets lapped.

    Yes it’s not ideal for someone fortunate enough to get to be a racing driver to find out under pressure they aren’t the world’s best racing driver and may have to settle for a lesser career racing another category, but it’s also not fair for the hundreds of hard working team members to see their efforts squandered to protect a driver’s ego.

  51. A couple of posts have commented on the Red Bull Junior Programme not having anyone in the pipeline and that is why they continue to have to promote drivers who are not ready to the senior team (Kvyat, Gasly) and recycle drivers they booted back into the junior team (Kvyat). Given how Dr. Marko has now clearly failed twice in spectacular fashion and with career crippling consequences for the drivers, does anyone think that they will attract any more young talent in the future? Sure, an Adrian Newey car is always a contender and that is very attractive for anyone, but is it attractive enough to (at best a second in the WCC/WDC as long as HAM and Merc are dominating like they are) overcome driver career mismanagement with such dire consequences?

    1. @g-funk

      does anyone think that they will attract any more young talent in the future?

      Are you joking? If RBR are picking up the tab for their massively expensive junior careers and giving most a shot at F1, any young driver will bite their hand off for a chance in the driver program.

  52. It may look weird the way they cycle their drivers but at least they arent running several years with lackluster number twos like the other two top teams fancy. Aim for the top is the way to go.

    1. Yet they wouldn’t pay Ricciardo what he was worth and instead put a hopeless number 2 in his place. Both Ferrari and Mercedes number 2’s are collecting respectable points if not running the main drivers too hard.

  53. Well I get why they swapped drivers but I’m not sure if Albon will be that much better than Gasly, sure he’s done well but come Spa he’ll be up against or backing up DOTY so far in Max. I hate to admit but I think this a bit too soon a promotion for Albon and I think they should’ve given Kvyat another chance.

    Kvyat to RB: Am I a joke to you?
    Sorry, had to do it.

  54. Jose Lopes da Silva
    12th August 2019, 16:33

    “Hard to imagine how he’ll stay motivated after that.”
    “Gasly feeling demotivated and Kvyat feeling he won’t get another chance.”

    Like they’re not racing among one of the 19 top-drive seats in the world. If they’re not competing to thrash each other to show they earn a place at Red Bull or at any other F1 team, I don’t understand what they’re doing there.

  55. Absolutely the right decision, but what is disgraceful is Horner and Marko saying they would retain Gasly until the end of the season. Messing with him like they did with JEV and ALG. They are not decent human beings, but that doesn’t seem to matter in this world as far as my 39 years have taught me – especially recently.

  56. Exciting to see what he can do, but if Red Bull are serious about beating Ferrari, there is really only Alonso available.

    It’s somewhat ironic that the team leaders will do anything for performance like throw engine suppliers under the bus and dump drivers like old socks, but when it really comes down to it will preserve their own pride and not ask someone like Alonso, even if that will practically guarantee them more points than any other option.

  57. Makes sense. They have the info on Max vs kvyat, max vs gasly, and kvyat vs albon. Kvyat has not been that much better than albon. Now they will get the two key measures (max vs albon and kvyat vs gasly) they are missing to better decide what to do for 2020.

  58. If Albon doesn’t shine by the end of the season, who will be in the seat alongside Max next year? Daniil?

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