Gasly not considering possibility of promotion back to Red Bull

2020 F1 season

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Pierre Gasly says he isn’t considering whether he might be offered a return to Red Bull despite making a strong start to his 2020 campaign at AlphaTauri.

Now in his third year as a Formula 1 driver, Gasly was promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull last year, but spent just 12 races at the top team before being dropped. After returning to Toro Rosso he quickly found his form again, scoring a breakthrough podium finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The team was renamed AlphaTauri during the off-season and Gasly has continued to perform well, reaching Q3 on three occasions, something team mate Daniil Kvyat is yet to do. However Gasly said he is not entertaining any thoughts of winning promotion back to Red Bull.

“Honestly, it is questions I didn’t even think about myself,” said Gasly in response to a question from RaceFans. “I think this is clearly things that at the moment I don’t want to spend too much energy and too much time thinking about this.

“I just want to be competitive in the AlphaTauri because that’s what’s going to give me the opportunities in the future. That’s my only focus at the moment every weekend: Take each weekend at a time and be competitive in qualifying on Saturday, be consistent on Sunday, try to put some strong performances.

“Hopefully it’s going to pay off at the end and it will be the right time and give me a good opportunity in the future. But I think at the moment that’s a bit too early to have these sort of questions or try to answer these these kind of questions.”

Gasly struggled to match Max Verstappen’s qualifying performance at Red Bull. His replacement Alexander Albon is finding that task similarly challenging. However Gasly insisted his priority is “to focus on myself” rather than Albon “and deliver the best performance I can with the car I have.”

“Obviously, I think recently we’ve done very well,” he said. “We qualified ahead of him in [Hungary and both British races]. But that’s not my priority, I’m not focussed on that.

“I don’t really want to spend too much energy because it’s not going to make me faster, it’s not going to bring me anything on me on my own performance. So that’s not my focus.

“I know Alex is a fast guy and he’s been fast in the past, I don’t really know what’s happening for him at the moment, but obviously it doesn’t seem so easy.”

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Gasly and Kvyat’s Spanish Grand Prix practice mix-up

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
The AlphaTauris got too close for comfort during practice
Both AlphaTauri drivers were unimpressed with the team’s car management when they encountered each other on-track during Friday’s second practice session at Circuit de Catalunya.

While running ahead of Kvyat on their race stint simulations, Gasly was told to “drop back two seconds end of this lap, Danny will do the same.” Gasly complied, but was then surprised to see Kvyat dive down the inside of him at the turn 14/15 chicane.

“Guys, what the fuck, you said we back off?” he asked. “I said we back off two seconds, we backed off six or seven,” he was told. “I didn’t back off at all,” he retorted, “for fuck’s sake, it never works.”

Gasly’s frustration was not unjustified, as Kvyat had not backed off and seemingly wasn’t told to do so until it was too late. He was already wheel-to-wheel with his team mate in the chicane when his race engineer told him: “We can open the gap, Danny, we can open the gap.”

As he accelerated onto the pit straight a confused Kvyat asked: “I don’t understand? Did you tell him anything about me or not? Come on guys we need to manage the cars a bit better.”

It is not the first time Gasly has objected to his team’s tactics during practice this year. At one stage during second practice for the Styrian Grand Prix he protested the team had only sent him on track to give a tow to Kvyat. AlphaTauri said it runs an equitable system of rotation for its two drivers.

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29 comments on “Gasly not considering possibility of promotion back to Red Bull”

  1. Narrator: “he was totally considering it.”

    1. Hahahah, always funny!

    2. Lol no moving to the red bull 2 car would be a demotion. Its not much faster then the toro rosso and you don’t have to be used as a step ladder to make max seem bigger

      1. @carlosmedrano Only Ham can make Max look even better ;)
        He is already punching above the weight of the car.
        You seem to have more bad weekends ahead ;)

        1. erikje, does a driver ever “punch above the weight of the car” when you stop to think about what that actually means as a concept?

          A driver cannot add downforce, increase the grip coefficient of the tyres or remove weight from the car – the car is physically unaltered by the driver, so that potential performance always exists within the car. I know that people love to throw it about, sometimes with the sort of worshipful reverence of those who believe in the near godlike transcendence of their favourite driver, but in reality it’s an idea that’s fairly nonsensical.

  2. I can’t see the harm (from a sporting perspective) in letting Gasly have a few races in the end of the season. Can’t help but feel that the situation would’ve been different, had Albon won the opening round in Austria though.
    I don’t know if it’s smart to do a switch for a person from one garage to another, from a medical point of view. Are all the garages considered being in the same “circle”, or how does it work?

  3. Doens’t matter which youngster Red Bull put in that seat. They need time to learn the car and get confortable. I think it’s more a mental thing for them to see that they are trying their absolute best and are still miles of Max’s pace. Says a lot about the raw speed of Verstappen.

    1. “They need time to learn the car and get confortable”

      Just like Verstappen.

      But yes, you’re 100% correct. It’s the most demotivating seat in F1.

    2. It says little about Max’s speed when both junior drivers do great at AT but fail at RB. It’s up to the engineering team to provide a car that suits both drivers and not just their main driver…

    3. @jesperfey13 Red Bull also should develop a car that’s not just suited to Verstappen’s driving style and then act surprised only Verstappen is able to drive it. To be honest they don’t even act surprised, they seem to accept it and just continue with their business.

      The #2 seat at Red BNull is about as demotivating a seat as is the #2 seat at Ferrari.

    4. Lol you have to never have driven anything competitive in your life to believe max is actually 1 sec faster then his teammates. How is it not painfully obvious they are not driving the same equipment. Mental gymnastics gets you so far before common sense starts getting in your way

    5. geoffgroom44 (@)
      22nd August 2020, 10:05

      agreed. Worth noting Alex’s overtaking skills in races and his ability to come from the back.Such an ability does not suggest lack of confidence, with some of his overtakes (Silverstone for example) causing gasps of admiration from race commentators.
      It’s as though in races he adjusts more comfortably and confidently to the car than he is able to do, so far, in the short spurt quali scenarios.I don’t think RedBull have made any mistake in bringing him into the team and I believe the time is not far off when we shall see their judgement vindicated.

  4. Gasly would be best advised to stay put until an opportunity arises away from RB, it’s a 1 driver team. The number 2s job at RB is to get Verstappens coffee.

    1. RB, it’s a 1 driver team

      It becomes quite popular to say this, but I don’t think it is true.
      RBR showed us between Vettel and Ricciardo that it is open to intra-team rivalry. Furthermore, you can develop the car a bit to one driver’s liking’s, but the set-up is still driver specific. Most of the gap between Verstappen and his teammate is due to the inexperience of those teammates and probably some talent deficit.

      I think RBR should hire a fast experienced hand to challenge Verstappen (like Rosberg to Hamilton) and mature Albon and Gasly at AT.

      1. @coldfly I don’t know Gasly, Kyvat and Albon seemed to be fine till they moved then crash they just couldn’t compete. Although Albon certainly started out last yr very close this yr he’s not there.
        The one thing that RB or most other teams would not want is two roosters in the hen house.

          1. Agree that RBR doesn’t want/need ‘two bullocks in the cow meadow’, @johnrkh.
            The Ocon/Perez pairing showed us how disastrous that can be; or Vettel/Leclerc.
            But this is more a personality challenge than the problem that RBR currently has. They have 1 driver who is (one of) the best around, and the other driver options are not at that level yet.
            I think that a Verstappen/Hulkenberg, or even a Verstappen/Perez, pairing would be better for the team than what they have now.
            The problem for most experienced drivers who could be paired with Verstappen is that he is probably as strong as Hamilton but he does not have the automatic respect of a few WDCs. e.g. it could be easier for Ricciardo to lose against Hamilton in a Mercedes than losing against Verstappen in the RBR.

      2. I think the equipment in the last 10 years has been equal for both drivers. The social and support side from the top management hasn’t been though. I don’t know if gasly is a driver that needs more or less support to get most out of himself but clearly red bull is not the place to be if the top management is not on your side. Webber learned that, ricciardo learned that and gasly and kvyat also learned that. So depending on your point of view red bull can be seen as very fair or clearly biased.

        But at the same time they won’t go against driver who is giving the the big points. Had vettel or verstappen failed at red bull and had they been beaten comfortably by their team mates I think it would have resulted in the opposite of happening than what did happen. There is enough money and cars for both drivers at red bull but words of encouragement and support when things don’t go your way are available only to one driver. A driver can be super fast but if he needs more than an ounce of support and doesn’t get it then that driver will be always beaten by a similarly skilled driver who gets that support.

      3. Perfectly fair until the no1 driver wants your new front wing because he broke his or gets all the new parts every single time.

      4. @coldfly whilst that may have been the case when Ricciardo and Vettel were there in 2014, the way in which the team operates now does suggest that they have moved away from that model.

        We saw with Gasly that Red Bull were shifting their most experienced mechanics all to Max’s side of the garage – Marko has previously confirmed that was an intentional decision to maximise Max’s performance in the car.

        Gasly has confirmed that he had told Red Bull that he was struggling in part because he was being given engineers with little to no experience in F1 at all – for example, his race engineer, Mike Lugg, had no experience in F1.

        Gasly did therefore ask if he could have an experienced engineer, only for Red Bull to refuse – that same engineer was then allocated to Albon until recently, and only now have Red Bull finally accepted that they did need an experienced engineer for that role. So much for Marko’s claims that giving Gasly a more experienced engineer wouldn’t have helped Gasly out…

        As an aside, Ricciardo has also stated that one factor in him leaving Red Bull was the fact that they told him they were going to take some of the more experienced engineers out of his team – one of which was to replace Rennie with Lugg.

        As socksolid notes, there are signs that the level of support that the senior management is giving to their second drivers, be it Albon or Gasly, isn’t as high as it might have been back in 2014 when Ricciardo joined Vettel and that there does seem to have been a pronounced shift in priorities within the team over the past couple of years.

  5. They might swap Alex and Gasly again for 2021, but I don’t see it happening this year.

  6. Stay at AT thebn wait the possibility away from RB, perhaps at Renault

    1. I don’t understand why people are so in favour of moving away from red bull. Verstappen performs well with that car, we have to assume it’s possible to do so even in the 2nd seat (senna vs prost, alonso vs hamilton, ricciardo vs verstappen, ricciardo vs vettel), and if it is, THAT is the best car short of having a mercedes, a rare commodity nowadays.

      Renault, who cares?

  7. I’m pretty certain that both Gasly and Albon are excellent drivers. For sure Verstappen is amazing, but the gap to Gasly and now Albon is too big to be due to skills only. Last year, Horner pointed towards the increased pressure of a top team to explain Gasly’s struggles, but i’m not buying this too much either. Sure there is more exposure when driving for a top team and that may be harder to regain lost momentum… But these guys have been under heavy pressure since the beginning of their journeys in motorsport. In my opinion, it’s either how RB is managing their second driver that pose problem or a car that is “too much” designed around Max to fit their second driver (or not enough willingness to prioritize development needed by the second driver).

    Either way, even if I like Pierre and think he deserved a good opportunity in a top team, I think RB’s better not repeat what they did with Gasly. They did not support him enough, put heavy pressure from the start (already in winter testing after Gasly’s crash, there was some negativity) and did not give him enough time. They should really focus on bringing Albon to the right level. Demoting Albon would be a big blow to his morale (3rd driver in 3 years) and there is no certainty to Pierre would fair well given his history with the team. First solve your root cause and then see which driver would fit the best RB.

    As for Pierre, I agree with other comments… Should I be him, I would focus on impressing as much as possible and seek a drive in another team. Been nice will not help him… Even with RB and Dr Marco he has more chances to get a promotion if he plays it aggressive than nice and corporate

    1. I’d demote albon immediately, why? Simply cause his trajectory is going DOWNWARDS! He was better his first year at the team!

      1. geoffgroom44 (@)
        22nd August 2020, 10:08

        hehehe, you are clearly not so occupied with actual statistics then. When, for example,did PG ever have fastest laps in a race against others?

  8. Both drivers looked a little more relaxed at Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri. Red Bull’s a pressure cooker environment where if you have a bad day its going to be mercilessly torn at, while if you have a bad day at TR/AT, nobody notices. Albon, compared to Gasly, has significantly less F1 experience and is performing maybe just a little bit better than Gasly did. To Gasly’s credit he’s doing better at AlphaTauri than he did at Red Bull, but again – less pressured environment, no Verstappen comparisons either – which is huge, being compared to one of the strongest drivers on the grid. I mean you can see how stressful it is for Bottas to keep time with Hamilton and Bottas has far more experience than either Albon or Gasly.

    Red Bull would do well to let a driver relax in their team for once. Give the time and patience and help them grow rather than burn through them mentally and emotionally and wonder why they’re struggling.

    1. in a top team you have to give it 100% straight from the start otherwise your not going to make it.
      Look at Lewis vs Alonso, Vettel vs Daniel and Daniel vs Max all were straight fast and on top that is what you looking for as teamboss.

      1. Agreed MacLeod… But I don’t think everything’s in the driver’s hand. So to produce 100% (I’m sure they all give 100%) you need the « conditions » to be reunited. Meaning the right support, the right context, the right car (fitting behaviour) etc..

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