Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Pre-season crashes affected Gasly’s confidence – Horner

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Pierre Gasly’s confidence suffered at Red Bull because of two crashes in testing and the strain of being compared with Max Verstappen, team principal Chrisitan Horner believes.

Red Bull has recently confirmed Alexander Albon, who replaced Gasly in the team during the summer break, will continue to drive for them in 2020.

Horner explained why he felt Gasly had struggled at Red Bull. “I think that obviously for Pierre it was very tough for him coming into the start of the season off the back off two accidents in pre-season. That definitely affected his confidence.

“And of course being the team-mate to Max Verstappen is a very tough job to have, having that reference point. For Pierre, it was a difficult first half of the season for him.

“Obviously we felt that with the pressure building on him, the public pressure, the media scrutiny, it was right to remove him from that and put him into the slightly less pressured environment of Toro Rosso.”

Gasly’s form has improved since, and he has out-scored current team mate Daniil Kvyat over their seven races together this year. “Since that switch I think he has driven again exceptionally well,” said Horner.

“You can see his confidence is growing. He’s driven some very strong races and his pace is getting better and better. He looks happier in that environment, which is good to see.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2019
Albon “earned the seat on merit” – Horner
Albon had impressed Red Bull with how quickly he had adapted to Formula 1 since making his debut for Toro Rosso this year, said Horner, making it an easy decision to keep him for next season.

“Obviously Alex has done a very good job in his first year in Formula 1,” he said. “He started the year at Toro Rosso and we then took the opportunity at the summer break to promote him into the senior team.

“The reason behind that was to have a look at him within our own environment. And since stepping into that seat he’s finished in the top six at every grand prix, sometimes having to start from the back of the grid or even the pit lane. So, he’s driven exceptionally well.

“He’s given great feedback. His pace is improving and improving, at many circuits at which he’s never been to before or countries he’s never been in, like here in Brazil this weekend. He’s earned the seat on merit.

“We’re excited about his potential for the future. It was a relatively straightforward decision to come to, to extend his relationship with the team as the partner for Max in 2020.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

5 comments on “Pre-season crashes affected Gasly’s confidence – Horner”

  1. ‘Alex is the Man! We are looking forward to a bright future’ *Albon crashing out in the Background* ‘Actually, did you know Pierre was only lacking confidence after crashing in Testing?’

    1. This was said months ago… Slow need day?

  2. F1oSaurus (@)
    16th November 2019, 7:13

    Or perhaps it was Helmut Marko’s constant complaining how that pre-season crash had ruined Red Bull’s otherwise championship contending season which hurt Gasly’s confidence?

    1. Either way, you cannot take that mental baggage into the race weekend. Maturing in a less stressful environment was the right choice.

      Also I’m not convinced yet that Albon will grow to his max in the big team. Maybe a year fighting it out in Alphatauri with Gasly would prove which one is the best long term bet.
      If only there was a solid experienced driver available who could bring in the points.

      1. If PG is like all drivers (I suspect) he is his own biggest critic, and will have felt like he set the team back with those pre-season crashes, because he did. It cost them valuable time and components when they didn’t have much time or many spares. He must have felt pretty bad and felt pretty nervous to not make more mistakes, which had to have affected his driving. But this is a big part of the game…handling pressure. The good news for him is that he’s on a team still willing to work with him and build him back up.

Comments are closed.