Pierre Gasly, Max Verstappen, Interlagos, 2019

Gasly thriving away from “pressure” of Red Bull – Horner

2019 F1 season

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Pierre Gasly’s podium finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix shows how he has thrived since being dropped by Red Bull, according to team principal Christian Horner.

Red Bull replaced Gasly with Alexander Albon during the summer break, just 12 race after he joined them. Gasly took second place in Brazil, the best finish of his career so far, partly thanks to Albon being hit by Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap of the race.

That was Gasly’s fifth points score since returning to Toro Rosso. During that time, he’s out-scored Daniil Kvyat by 32 points to eight.

“He’s doing a very good job,” said Horner. “I think that removing him from the pressured environment here, putting him back into the slightly less pressured environment of Toro Rosso, perhaps in a car that is slightly easier to drive, his confidence has been recovering and recovering and he’s put in some great performances. And that’s why we took up the option on him again for 2020.”

Gasly handled his demotion well, said Horner. “He had two choices. He could either get depressed about it or be grateful for the fact that he was still involved in Formula 1 and that Red Bull still believed in him. And he embraced it rather than got dejected by it.

“I think there was almost a slight relief as well, because obviously the pressure only mounts. He came into the season after two crashes [in testing], then there were some really tough races for him. You guys [the media] don’t cut much slack either.

“So the pressure only builds and I think it was the right thing to remove him from that pressure. And it’s been good to see him really find his confidence at Toro Rosso.”

Horner said Gasly’s continued presence at Toro Rosso shows he could return to Red Bull in the future.

“If we didn’t believe he was a candidate for us we would have released him from the contract,” he said. “But obviously we still believe in his talent and that’s why we retained him within the group.”

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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...
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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21 comments on “Gasly thriving away from “pressure” of Red Bull – Horner”

  1. If Verstappen leaves I think Gasly is an obvious choice to return to the team, perhaps in a car that is more suited to his driving style. For whatever reason I think Gasly has made it clear that he simply wasn’t able to drive well what is essentially a car built specifically for Max.

    1. Apparently the operating window for the RB is very narrow, its a thoroughbred, whereas you can hustle the TR and it wont complain too much. The RB will give you more if you get it in that window but it takes exacting handling. I think the pressure thing is over done. F1 is pressure, if he messed up at TR he is out of F1. That is big pressure also.

  2. Crazy to think that Red Bull could be left with Albon and Gasly if Verstappen leaves. It would almost be like Alesi and Morbidelli at Ferrari before.

    1. Sounds like a decent line up. Alesi was nearly at a Schumacher/Senna level on a good day.

      1. And that my friend, is what separates the good from the great !!! Being nearly good enough on a good day and having a decent line up is not what wins championships

  3. GAS is as good as SAINZ, but Sainz was lucky to go away from the toxic management of red bull

  4. Where is Verstappen going to move to?
    Mercedes and Ferrari have chained themselves to HAM and VET. HAM has said he wants to negotiate another contract with Merc. He will probably be able to double his money at Merc if Ferrari show any interest in him. If Ferrari do, then there’s no way he’ll need to agree to having VER as a team mate.
    HAM has Merc in the palm of his hand. VET will need to be bought out by Ferrari.

    1. @bigjoe

      The way I see it… The top teams will want to align themselves with the top talent available, for 2021. Verstappen is on top of everybody’s list, followed by Lewis, so it’s without a doubt that the top 2 teams will make a bid for them as their respective #1 drivers. Vettel…. I doubt any top team would hire him, so, I think Ferrari is on the cards for both Lewis and Max (although Lewis seems more likely to drive alongside Leclerc).

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Lewis-Leclerc line up at Ferrari, with a Verstappen-Russell line up at Mercedes, and maybe an Albon – Ricciardo/Gasly line up at Red bull.

      1. I’d be incredibly surprised at that lineup!

        The only way it would be more surprising is if you put Grosjean, Stroll or Maldonado in one of those seats!

  5. “I think that removing him from the pressured environment here, putting him back into the slightly less pressured environment of Toro Rosso, perhaps in a car that is slightly easier to drive, his confidence has been recovering and recovering and he’s put in some great performances.

    Smh… sad to see this kind of downgrading talk from Horner. Gasly’s only issue was a car severely not suited to him that he never came to grips with.

    No F1 car on the grid is “easier” to drive than another

    1. +1
      No doubt Gasly was under a lot of pressure and that he might have been affected by that. But this looks to me like an “easy line” from Horner, a bit of a cheap excuse. In my opinion, the fact that Gasly was able to deliver straightaway when he went to TR proves that the main problem was not in his head (Contrarily to like Kyviat 2 years ago). Obviously the car was not suited to GAS and the team hasn’t been able / willing to help him. That been said, by downgrading Gasly mid-season, they allowed him to repair at least partially his reputation… On that level the 2 team strategy paid off.

    2. Is that really downgrading?

      I’ve taken Horner’s comments about Gasly as being fairly kind, defending him.

      1. @DC I’m not sure how quite explain it… it just feels cheap as if he’s having a dig at Gasly.
        Most of his past ones yea I guess you could say that, but this is far from that

      2. Red Bull and presumably, Horner, have been more than fair with both Kvyat and Gasly. Agree with DC on that.
        How many other teams would demote a driver from the A-Squad and still retain them in their system.? Red Bull has done this twice and in each case, the pundits were crying for the action prior to the team actually doing it.
        If you go back to Testing in February, Gasly set the team back in a big way, and that had little to do with the car or set-up.
        Some indication early in the season, was that Gasly was setting his car up differently than Max and it didn’t work. When he started using Max’s set-up he improved somewhat. Also understood that this was at the team’s insistence.
        Just wondering if Albon and Hamilton had finished 3rd and 2nd, would there still be as much chatter about Gasly and Sainz.??
        Trivia question, how many times has Max lapped Albon since he took over the car.? Answer is really short.

        1. Red bull have retained Gasly and Kvyat in TR because they burnt through yhier driver pool. There is no better option. Wouldnt say RB have been lenient, they have been ruthless as normal.

          Gasly has vindicated his ability by shining again at TR and even so Horner has taken the opportunity to make a snide remark about him not being able to cut it in a top team.

          1. Nothing wrong with Kvyat and Gasly. They are good point scoring drivers. Both got a Podium as well.

    3. Ipsom, it could also be said that the whole situation perhaps reflects rather poorly on Horner as well. Surely one of his roles as a team principal should be to prevent a driver from being placed under too much pressure, given the negative impact it will have on his performance?

      1. And thats what he has done

    4. Ipsom Of course some F1 cars are easier to drive than others. Some are more temperamental, have narrower windows of prime operation, and some are inherently oversteer or understeery and that can play away from a drivers preferences. There are a hundred variables that can make one car easier or harder to drive for one specific driver.

  6. Gasly would have finished 8th, don’t forget the Hamilton Albon incident.

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