Start, Silverstone, 2019

Why Red Bull’s Gasly gamble could cost them over $10 million

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Pierre Gasly’s abrupt demotion from Red Bull to Toro Rosso prompted hundreds of comments earlier this week.

Among the questions raised was what Gasly’s under-performance will cost Red Bull. He scored barely more than a quarter of their points tally and as a result the team which potentially has the second-fastest car in F1 at the moment could end the year third in the championship.

What would that cost Red Bull? And how else is a team affected when on driver is conspicuously under-performing?

The opportunity for Red Bull to beat Ferrari this year is real. Ferrari have underperformed this year, enabling Red Bull Racing to run the Scuderia close despite having a substantially lower budget and less power overall, although Honda has made some massive improvements in the engine stakes.

Gasly was, in my opinion, promoted to Red Bull’s top team a season too early to fill the vacancy created by Daniel Ricciardo’s unexpected defection to Renault. And it’s not as if Red Bull is the only team which may be punching below its weight in the points table. Haas, for instance, have experienced severe fluctuations in car performance and seen their drivers collide with each other on three occasions.

Although there is a financial cost (effectively a loss of revenues) to finishing third in the championship as opposed to second, there are other costs that need to be considered. Folk who work in F1, particularly in areas that affect performance, are, by nature, extremely competitive. I have yet to meet a competitive soul who prefers finishing a season in third or fourth place rather than second.

Thus, potentially there are morale issues, which in turn affect all members of the race team, but none more than the crews of the ‘losing’ side of the garage. A one-two is acceptable, or even a three-four, but regular one-sixes or three-eights start sapping morale, particularly when crew members know they have bust every possible gut to deliver a quick car, and it regularly laps well off the pace or is crashed wantonly.

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Then there is the question of ‘points’ or bonus money paid to team members: teams have different reward structures, but the bottom line is that underperforming drivers hit team members (and their families) where it hurts most – in the pocket – which in turn breeds discontent.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2019
Verstappen has scored three-quarters of Red Bull’s points
However, the biggest cost is in terms of lost F1 revenues. F1 teams are paid prize money quarterly via a complex formula based on the previous year’s constructors’ championship placing, applied to the current year’s income. In addition, five teams – Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Williams – receive bonuses, some fixed-fee and others based on F1’s turnover.

Thus, the higher (or lower) a team places in the constructors’ championship, the greater (lower) its share of F1’s pot, although the effects on its budget will only be felt the following season. Should Red Bull place third this year rather than a potential second, its 2020 share of F1’s revenues will be reduced – meaning it will either have a lower 2020 budget, or its owner and sponsors will need to up their spends.

Have Gasly’s performances hurt Red Bull’s chances of beating Ferrari to second in the constructors’ championship? The team is clearly thinking in these terms. “It is vital for us, if we’re to stand any chance of catching Ferrari, that we have him finishing further ahead,” said team principal Christian Horner after Gasly followed Carlos Sainz Jnr’s McLaren home in Hungary.

The question then is: what is the difference between second and third places? The projected amount is impossible to quantify at this stage as the size of the 2020 pot depends upon numerous factors, including the number of races. But assuming a similar pot size to this year, and excluding their bonuses, Ferrari’s second place would earn it $91m from Liberty and Red Bull’s third place would be worth $81m. So the the difference between second and third would be $10m.

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Christian Horner, Paul Ricard, Red Bull, 2019
Horner was concerned by Red Bull’s deficit to Ferrari
Given that F1’s revenues are expected to rise moderately next year due to the expanded calendar, I would put the likely final amount at around $11m. This assumes, of course, that Red Bull does not overhaul Ferrari in the remaining nine races. As the gap between them is currently 44 points, the same amount a team can score at each of the remaining nine rounds, it’s certainly possible, providing Gasly’s replacement Alexander Albon hits the ground running.

That $11m equates to around 4% of Red Bull’s budget, but it is still a fair whack of money. For Haas the effect of dropping from fifth to, say, seventh (two places rather than one), is also expected to be $11m.

Formula 1’s prize money structure is expected to be overhauled in 2021, and the points scored today could affect what teams are paid further down the line, so the full ramifications may not be known for some time.

Ultimately the overall effect of placing third rather than a potential second (or seventh rather than fifth) becomes a management issue. But management made the driver choices in the first place, for whatever reasons.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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  • 63 comments on “Why Red Bull’s Gasly gamble could cost them over $10 million”

    1. The $11m lower prize money (albeit in 2020) will be offset almost entirely by the lower salary of Gasly vs Ricciardo (2019).

      It seems therefore Renault is the team which is hurting most financially; pay more to your drivers whilst ending up lower in the standings.
      Maybe something they learnt from McLaren ;)

      1. Maybe something they learnt from McLaren ;)

        @coldfly – such a burn that the FIA are looking into banning it ;)

      2. @coldfly While true that they would be saving from paying Gasly a lesser salary than DR, that does not eliminate the fact that coming second in the WCC would be desirable not just for that added money on top of salary savings, but the pride and the promotional value of it too, amongst all the other things that come with finishing as high up as one possible can in the standings. Besting Ferrari with their extra moneys would be huge for Red Bull.

        1. Huge for Honda too.

    2. So is there any truth, that you know @dieterrencken, to rumours that Gasly got the less experienced (or I suppose positively seen: the fresh new) team of engineers on his side of the garage? (not any more sure where I read that, a month or so ago, I think).

      If it is true, and costs them $11m, I’d say: there are some clear things Red Bull team management forgot to do to make sure the new driver, and his team, would gain experience and grow as a group as best as possible.

      If not, I still think that, knowing it was a bit too early for him, Horner (not expecting anything on this front from the Dr.) might have been more proactive in getting him all the support he needed, given that he saw first hand with Kvyat how problematic it could get, and expensive (given in this article we didn’t enumerate the costs of the crashes …).

      1. @bosyber But would you not rather maximize as much as you can with Verstappen? Because even in absolutely equal conditions, he is considerably better than Gasly, and Red Bull’s only realistic shot at podiums and wins. Taking away from that slightly just so Gasly might do slightly better is not worth it at all. The marginal points increase as you go up the classification, so it makes complete sense in my opinion.

      2. Even if it is the less experienced technical team the difference should not be massive. After all it is red bull and historically there has not been noticable difference between the two cars. And had it been the technical team that was the issue then all speed issues gasly had should have gone away when he started mirroring verstappen’s settings. Gasly did pick up little speed then but was still trailing verstappen especially in races.

      3. The problem with Kvyat wasn’t speed, it was they needed room for Verstappen.
        Kvyat at Redbull probably had less accidents than Vettel has has each of the past and current season.

      4. @bosyber, when Helmut Marko stated that Gasly was going to be using Verstappen’s set up, he directly stated that the more experienced members of Red Bull’s team had been allocated to Verstappen’s side of the garage – so you probably would have read about it from Marko’s own personal statements.

        @mashiat, with regards to your question “But would you not rather maximize as much as you can with Verstappen?”, on the flip side it can also be asked “Should you if it potentially comes at the cost of maximising the performance of the team as a whole”?

        We have seen how, quite often, Ferrari and Mercedes have had a free had to do what they would like to because Gasly has not been any hindrance to them – if they are sinking the majority of their resources into Verstappen to get him up to the front, are they then potentially losing out because Gasly is then not there to provide support or to be able to pick up the pieces on those occasions when things do not work out for Verstappen?

        1. I think that even if PG had a less experienced crew, it is not like there is a wall between the garages. I am sure there is no shortage of knowledge being passed back and forth between drivers’ crews. It is one whole team going for as high a placing as possible in the WCC. I suggest they act more like a coherent whole team than PG having a less experienced crew makes it sound. But ya if Max has a few more veterans with him that also only makes sense because he is the ‘senior’ driver on the team, more engrained, not to mention the more proven entity, and their work together would give the best odds of sussing out the maximum the package has to offer which can then translate to PG, now AA, getting a better car out of it too. I can’t see even a less experienced crew not getting pretty up to speed pretty quickly with all the things that Max and crew have discovered about the car as they take the lead and progress it.

    3. But what else could Red Bull have done?
      They did not expect Gasly to perform this poorly. He had some strong races at Toro Rosso.

      Other options were not readily available.
      Hartley did worse at Toro Rosso than Gasly (which, in hindsight, shows he was dropped for good reason), Kvyat had not raced since being dropped from Toro Rosso in 2017 and Albon had no experience in F1 at all, and was only 3rd in F2.
      Neither qualified for a direct promotion to the Red Bull team.
      Choosing a driver outside of Red Bulls talent program would make them look silly, and then nobody was really available.

      Gasly to Red Bull for 2019 was pretty much inevitable. Even if Red Bull had known in advance how bad it’d turn out there’s little else they could have done.
      A gamble with Kvyat maybe. That would have looked bizarre though.

      1. The least they could do is try all their available f1 drivers on the RBR f1, ie Max’s car, in order to choose the driver with the most affinities with Max’s car.
        They even failed to that.

        1. I mean before they officially enter their drivers for the championship

        2. you do not know that. Using the simulator for all kind of tests is not uncommon.
          So if these tests are disirable they probably used the simulator for that. Real world testing during the season except some special days is prohibited.

      2. Exactly. What is missing in this article is what the alternative options would’ve cost.

        There was no real reason to expect that Gasly would do worse than the other Red Bull juniors. The alternative would be to hire from outside, but that would’ve been more expensive. I imagine these costs are hard to estimate but would at least consist of payments to other teams for contract buy outs, but would also most likely result in higher wages.
        Another not insignificant consideration could also be that hiring outside of the red Bull pool would have discredited prior investments made in the junior program and possible future investments in this.

        Taking into consideration as well that it is quite surprising that they are fighting for a second place, I think Red bull would’ve thought hiring Gasly was financially the least risky option.

      3. @Bart
        Short answer: Go for Sainz.
        Longer answer: They could’ve gone for Sainz had they wanted to as he was still tied to them since he only ever was at Renault on-loan. Yes, the fact Sainz pushed quite hard towards the Renault-drive to get out of STR might’ve proved to be a decisive factor against him in the end, but even if Red Bull didn’t quite like that behavior, they still, in hindsight, should’ve used their option on him. He ‘possibly’ (not definitely) could’ve fared better in the RB15 than Gasly fared, but we’ll never get to know for sure how that would’ve panned out.

        1. Sainz wanted a multi-year contract, and Red Bull was unwilling to commit to more than one year. That in itself was not insurmountable, but as you write Sainz’s push towards Renault soured things up.
          Plus there was a complex deal between Renault, McLaren, Honda and Red Bull/Toro Rosso and Sainz’s role may have been involved, locking him out. Renault would have signed Ocon if they hadn’t signed Ricciardo. I saw no reason for them not to retain Sainz, but Sainz went to McLaren no matter what.

          1. Sainz would have had no choice in the matter though. He was loaned out to Renault last season and if RedBull wanted to keep him he would have been at Toro Rosso (or Redbull) for this year.

      4. Red bull could have treated ricciardo better so he had no reason to leave. I don’t believe for a second ricciardo left just because of honda’s weak prospects. Even on this site the red bull driver duo was clearly rated as the best driver lineup for any team in 2018: https://www.racefans.net/2018/01/21/f1-team-best-worst-driver-pairings-2018/. Red bull had something really good and they lost it when ricciardo did not want to drive for that team anymore.

        But of course at the same time once ricciardo was gone red bull had to put gasly into the other red bull. Hartley was way too slow and no other options existed. Had red bull taken ocon then after the season merc would have just taken ocon away along with all the honda and red bull secrets. After all merc would not even allow ocon to leave for red bull for multiple year contract. And after the one year red bull would be in the exact same position they were before ocon. Frantic search for drivers. Ocon would have been awful choice for red bull and letting ocon drive for red bull would have only helped ocon and mercedes.

        1. @socksolid This!

          They should have made RIC feel valued. Instead, they made RIC feel VER is important.

          1. That’s not what the only one that really knows said” RIC.
            He gave some reasons about his switch, but none of them sounded like yours.

      5. They still had Sainz on the books when Ricciardo made his decision!

      6. But what else could Red Bull have done?

        Alonso obviously. But that would have hurt the team management’s pride, and that must preserved at all costs whereas team partners (Renault) and own drivers’ can be stepped on without mercy in the pursuit of performance.

        1. @balue

          Alonso obviously

          Haha, was never going to happen after Alonso (once again) bit the hand that feeds (Honda).

          1. @asanator You mean of course like at McLaren? Lol

    4. @Vincent
      Cars aren’t build for drivers; drivers need to adapt.
      if you can’t, you’re not good enough.

      “The least they could do is try all their available f1 drivers on the RBR f1, ie Max’s car, in order to choose the driver with the most affinities with Max’s car.” How?

      1. Cars are built (or end up having) slight over- or under-steer or are neutral. And drivers like it one way or the other.
        It is a big advantage for the team if both drivers prefer it the same way; sharing set-up notes, and steering the development of the car.

        1. There is a lot more to it than that. A car can be understeery or oversteery at different speeds for example. At low speeds it is the mechanical grip that decides the car behaviour and at higher speeds it is the aerodynamics. Cars can also be neutral but very snappy or oversteery but very controllable. A car can react to kerbs and bumps in different ways. You can even have a car that understeers at low speeds, oversteers at high speeds while being really good or bad in the middle. A car can also have really good handling but still be slow. The honda’s button drive generally had really good handling but they were really slow whereas some other cars are really snappy and nervous while also really fast.

          And even if team builds cars specifically for one driver the two cars year after year won’t drive the same anyways. Not to mention how the car behaviour changes when you change aero kits or when the track conditions change. In the end the preference of the driver is all about managing his weaknesses as driver. If the driver can not drive certain kind of car the issue is not his preference but his lack of skill. You did not hear about schumi complaining about car not suiting him but for sure heard you irvine complain about it. Schumi set the car in such way it was fast whereas irvine had to use safer setups because he could not just drive the car if it was too oversteery or vernous even if it was faster that way.

          I think people also have a bit skewed perception about what understeer and oversteer means in f1 car. When driver prefers one over the other the difference is really really small. It is not a night an day difference and a lot of it depends on the rules as well. In some years the front tires were not wide enough which caused all cars to suffer from understeer. Champions adapt, lesser drivers struggle. Champions prefer fast cars, lesser drivers prefer cars that handle the way they like them.

          1. @socksolid

            Champions prefer fast cars, lesser drivers prefer cars that handle the way they like them.

            Kimi and Jenson like specific cars, Prost was like that too and Schumacher…. yet all of them are champions. What your saying sounds cool, but it’s a rather lazy one-liner that is actually incorrect.

            1. There is a difference in what the driver prefers and what he needs. Some drivers need a car that suits them or their pace suffers whereas champions prefer certain things but are still able to get 100% out of the car even if the car is bad to drive.

            2. @socksolid that’s not necessarily a good thing. When Jenson had the perfect setup, Hamilton often couldn’t touch him on race pace. Sure Hamilton was faster on average but Button was far more consistent, same for Prost vs Senna.

              For the record, Schumacher always went for a understeer bias setup, oversteer is slow and few drivers would choose that by choice as it limits traction. Also Schumacher rarely had a car not setup well as he tested with arguably twice the mileage of any other driver. When he lost that advantage on his comeback he looked pretty average.

              Driving around issues is all well and good but if that means your setup will cook your tyres or stress the gearbox then it’s not always the quickest way to drive a race. There’s more to racing than lap time. It has also been mentioned that driving round problems might mean you’re not fixing them.

            3. Omg, slowmo, schumacher looked pretty average on his comeback cause he lost the testing advantage? Or maybe, just maybe, a driver beyond 35 is in decline and one over 40 is in heavy decline and shouldn’t drive a f1? Let’s see how hamilton gets along when he’s 41, shall we?

            4. @esploratore nice try on the excuses but other drivers have performed into their 40’s. Hamilton will be gone long before 40. Schumacher used unlimited testing to a huge advantage. Alonso is 38, Raikonnen 39 and both could win races if in a Red Bull or Merc. The problem at their age is you’re not a good safe bet for the future and by hiring an old driver you miss your chance on a young driver that could give you 10 years.
              There is a decline with age I conceed but nothing like a cliff edge people pretend. The proviso being they’re fit of course.

          2. Ferrari had a problem with Schumacher when he first moved to them as in testing he would drive around problems, which is great for a race driver but not for a test driver. He had to learn to drive in a consistent manner so that the team could actually see the differences between test runs.

            @slowmo Schumacher’s biggest problem on his comeback was that the cars were so different, they had gone from the wide to narrow track cars in his absence yet despite that he did ok. He was pretty competitive with Rosberg in a Mercedes that was not at Redbulls level and that was before anyone actually realised how good Rosberg was at the time.

        2. @coldfly

          Wheter they like it one way or the other is irrelevant; they simply need to adapt, that’s why they are F1 drivers.
          I’m pretty sure all drivers love perfectly balanced cars without any over- or understeer, but hey, some drivers can adapt and apparently some drivers can’t.
          Bringing it up as an excuse for Gasly is rather odd, and blaming RBR for not sorting this out pre season is hilarious.

          1. I’m pretty sure all drivers love perfectly balanced cars without any over- or understeer

            I’m pretty sure you’re wrong.
            But for the long explanation you have to read @socksolid‘s explanation above. It is much more sublte/complicated.

    5. They could have got Alonso for 1 year but Horner didn’t want another thaw (quick driver) to challenge favourite driver Max as Alonso would not be accepting to be no2 or being crashed by Max without any consequences. That’s why Ricciardo left RBR: he felt he was being treated like a no2 driver while Renault gave him a massive pay package as recognition for his skills. So they are paying their policy of MAX UBER ALLES IMO.

      1. RIC himself contradicts those storylines every time. Still you keep repeating these fantasy’s.. strange.

    6. One out of two: either Honda was already so strong last year that made Gasly look good (probably Hartley helped that too), or RBR’s front planted brake-inside-the-curve chassis got him out of the confort zone so bad that would take him a whole year to adapt.

      Drivers like Alonso, Senna, Schumacher, and now Verstappen usually took one or two races to get adapted to the car behavior. Or more like one pratice session in most cases. So that looks like one of the skills a WDC must have.

      If Gasly can beat Kvyat when returning to STR by some margin (I am pretty sure he wants to do that), than RBR’s car did not suit him well. And he will be missing one of the skills Mr Marko must have on his check list.

      The other skill missing is probably agressive drive and decisive overtaking manouvers (again SEN, Schumi, ALO, VER…), after being held by MCL while his teamate was beating a Mercedes Fair and Square.

      1. Interesting line of thought. My thought is that Hartley is just really poor and that flattered Gasly. I know Hartley did well in WEC, but endurance racing is something entirely different. Don’t forget Hartley was once part of the RedBull jr. program and dropped because he wasn’t good enough. BTW, Gasly was also almost dropped for poor performance during his jr career as well.

        1. @jeffreyj

          Don’t forget Hartley was once part of the RedBull jr. program and dropped because he wasn’t good enough. BTW, Gasly was also almost dropped for poor performance during his jr career as well.

          As was Kvyat (dropped) and Verstappen wasn’t even a part of the RBR driver program. But you know it is going great guns!

          1. Oops, I forgot to mention Albon (dropped).

    7. It’s an intriging what if scenario, no one knows if they could have finished 2nd even with a better 2nd driver. Team mate collisions would lose them points, Horner splitting stategies to get a race win would cost them points too. Question is, if the point lost due to having two top drivers (like verstappen and Ricciardo) would be more or less than Verstappen and Gasly.

    8. Their hand was forced. You can baby a driver who is 10-30s behind his teammate. But a lap down in equal conditions… That is too much.

      So now they do what they can and give their second too young a driver a chance. And if that fails? Kvyat? What then?

      There are not plenty spectacular drivers around that RedBull can get with longterm potential.

      Who will be alongside Max as he takes the title? Being a top level #2 is very rare.

      They are in a real pickle. Atleast they can easilly get someone faster than Gasly.

    9. Now they have to re-record all those Twitter Gifs 😅

    10. I, like the rest, didn’t expect him to match let alone out-score Max, but neither did I expect him to be as much off the pace as he was over the twelve race weekends they were teammates. He never truly seemed to be able to match the other drivers of the front-running teams regularly, the others from his group if you like, as he should have, but more often struggled even to beat the top-midfielders, and too often got stuck behind them despite the car-advantage at his disposal.

    11. Daniel Cronise
      15th August 2019, 14:28

      Question for y’all: Is there a rule/regulation which says that at least one of the drivers on a team must be a veteran? (ie. Can’t have two rookies)

      I seem to remember reading that, but I can’t seem to find it.

      1. No there is no such rule.

        1. While it isn’t a rule it could Daniel is thinking of the contract between a team and one or more of their sponsors. I believe that was the case when Williams were sponsored by Martini. Their contract stipulated they had to have at least one driver who was… I think it was 20 or above. That meant that when Bottas suddenly left for Mercedes they needed to get a replacement that was able to fulfil their contract with Martini. I believe that at that time Lance Stroll was under the legal drinking age in some parts of Europe, so Martini couldn’t use him in their advertising (at least in those parts of Europe). In the end they re-signed Massa for the year.

    12. I find it difficult to think that they aren’t seriously considering a switch, given the current WCC standings. I mean, what have they got to lose? They’re essentially guaranteed 3rd at worst. A competitive 2nd driver (certainly more so than Gasly) would at the very least give them a chance at snatching 2nd from Ferrari and net an extra $10m in prize money for 2020.

      This relates to the exact point I was making (above) a couple of weeks ago. Gasly’s lack of performance was actively costing the team $10m, and so letting him go was a no-brainer for me. Would Gasly still have a seat had Verstappen not had such an immense opening half of the season (say if Red Bull were an additional 50 points behind Ferrari)?

      1. Maybe, but better like this, red bull is an ambitious team who works better than ferrari and needs at least 2 competent drivers, not 1 disasterous driver.

    13. At the end of 2018, Gasly seemed like a decent choice for Red Bull. Almost everyone agreed he could use a year more in the Toro Rosso, but given the circumstances, it seemed at least Red Bull promoted a good driver. Sure wasn’t going to be the next Verstappen, but when was the last time a midfield driver was promoted to a top team and was this abysmal? Even Kvyat back in 2015 performed better.And there lies the problem for Red Bull. The rapid promotion of Max to the top team so fast, although successful, has caused their Young Drivers Program to go haywire. They may have brought the next WDC, but it came at a cost.

      • First Kvyat was demoted brutally to Too Rosso (which he didn’t deserve based on his performance) and then fired from there after he was unable to be competitive again, only to bring him back again this year because of shortage of talents.
      • Second Max didn’t get along with Sainz back at the Toro Rosso, which probably was a reason that Red Bull didn’t pick Sainz for 2019 who was much more experienced and known quality than Gasly.
      • Third, the favoritism of Red Bull towards Max which made Ricciardo leave the team and opened a seat. Along with Sainz departure from the Toro Rosso back in 2017 which created another one and with Red Bull’s Young Drivers Program being short of talents lately, they had to bring back rejects just to fill the seats and promote not mature enough drivers to the top seat.

      Ideally Red Bull, at the end of 2015, probably pictured a Ricciardo-Verstappen line up for years to come and if someone was to leave, Sainz was to take his place. And gradually promonting new blood to Toro Rosso, not this mess.

      If none of the Gasly-Albon-Kvyat line ups satisfy Red Bull, then they should bring a decent out-of-their-program driver (like Bottas, Hulkenberg etc) for 2 years and promote fresh blood to Toro Rosso and let them mature properly.

      1. Third, the favoritism of Red Bull towards Max which made Ricciardo leave the team

        Not again.. ask RIC. This story is NOT true and even RIC denies it every time.
        In this topic i have seen multiple repeats of this untrue story. Wishing it does not makes it true though..
        The Sainz/Max story was a lot about the fathers and even more the Spanish press. In reality both had no problem whatsoever with each other.

        1. If you read all his quotes and all the little things that added up, you will also read that the Baku incident played a part in his decision – along with all the other little things. Do you really think Ricciardo is going to come out and say, yeah I left because Christian said they were going to build the team around Max. I left because Christian and Marko said they want to make Max the youngest world champion ever. I left because they wanted Max to have the youngest ever driver to have pole etc. etc. Of course Ricciardo isn’t going to say that, he isn’t dumb.

    14. I think Gasly’s position could be compared to Massa’s promotion to Ferrari in 2006. If you look at Massa’s form in early 2006, he was very inconsistent: one 3rd place, a smattering of points finishes, a few crashes and a couple of non-scores).

      But the difference is that Ferrari stuck with Massa, worked with him and this resulted in a noticeable uptick in his form from the USA onwards (2 wins, 3 2nds, a 3rd and a smattering of other points finishes – though there was a non-score and a DNF in there too).

      Now this was no doubt helped by the fact that Massa would have been able to test until his hands and feet bled while Gasly cannot. But I think the comparison is a good one. Massa was fast, raw and needed a bit of help to unlock his speed, much as Gasly does. I just hope Red Bull are willing to give Albon the help he will need so that he can avoid being dumped as well.

      1. Good point there about Ferrari and Massa @geemac.

        That really is the point IMO – getting a better way to bed Gasly in and offer him more supportive surroundings to help him get up to speed, as well as making it clear they ARE going to stick with him could have gotten Red Bull that much closer to Ferrari already.

        1. I don’t think one can fairly compare to 06 when it was MS/Ferrari still. They stuck with Massa because they didn’t need/want anyone else in that seat. Just a compliant number 2. And would Ferrari really have been sweating having their standing in the WCC at risk with all the extra money they get? They finished second to Renault that year by 5 points and likely still got more money than Renault and anyone else.

          Here we have Gasly likely having been given as much ‘coddling’ as Massa received and yet under completely different circumstances. Nothing has told them that sticking with him for the rest of the season would see him progress, and I’m pretty sure we should assume they aren’t heartless souls there, and actually did their very best to help Gasly. Why wouldn’t they have? And their urgency to not squander the second car and to achieve second in the WCC is obviously paramount for them. And would be huge for Honda too. To best Ferrari, and especially Renault (not that it doesn’t look like that won’t happen easily).

          I wouldn’t assume that in 06 Ferrari did anything special with Massa other than to let him drive the full season, nor would I assume that RBR haven’t given Gasly all the tools they possibly could in an encouraging and positive way, which could be exactly why they decided they needed to go another route. I doubt they were mean and cruel to him and handcuffed him from improving only to then swap him out.

          1. I’m happy to be corrected if I am wrong @robbie, but I do recall Rob Smedley saying in an interview once that Ferrari put a lot of work in with Massa mid-season in 06 to get him up to speed.

          2. @robbie @geemac Gasly shown some speed is there look at Silverstone qualifying and race and Hockenheim qually that is in the last few races aswell. He was obviously very inconsistent but Hungary really cost him and if he had Silverstone going into the break he still be there.

    15. Like the song said ….. “Don’t look back … you can never look back” …. Don Henley.
      Dropping Gasly is probably motivated by the concept of getting Albon some experience (now) in a front running car. This is all about planning for 2020, not about second in 2019.
      He may not be as fast out of the gate as Gasly might have been (if he kept it on the track) but at least RBR gets to find out. With some luck, it might still pay off this season.
      As a positive for Gasly, he still has a drive. Like it or not, that is enormous given his accomplishments over the last few months.

    16. Good thats what red bull get for putting all their support on max, stop babying your pr driver

    17. How on earth is Rb’s budget significantly smaller than ferrari’s? 2 teams and a GP, ferrari has an engine division. 10 million, is the bill after a crash like the one in germany.

      1. True, it’s not supposed to be much smaller and let’s not forget red bull doesn’t make the engine, so can devolve more money to chassis development.

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