After the announcement that Daniel Ricciardo would move to the works Renault team for 2019, it left his seat open for one lucky driver to take. And after a couple of weeks, it has been announced that Red Bull Junior driver and Torro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly will move up to the senior team for 2019 after impressing in the first half of his full debut F1 season.
Gasly has finished in the points on three occasions so far in this campaign, including a fantastic fourth place at Bahrain – Honda’s best ever Formula 1 result since returning to the series in 2015 with McLaren.
As Red Bull will move to the Honda engine for next year, the Frenchman will bring a wealth of experience that will help the team and its engineers get used to working with the new engine as well as getting some data from this year.
Gasly made his debut at the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix before being granted a full-season for this year. Gasly won the 2016 GP2 Series – the only Red Bull Junior driver to do so, before moving to compete in the Super Formula for 2017 – narrowly missing out on the Championship.
Speaking on his appointment to the Red Bull team for 2019, Gasly commented, “It has been my goal to race for this team since I joined the Red Bull junior driver programme in 2013. This incredible opportunity is another step forward in my ambition to win Grand Prix and compete for world championships. Red Bull has always looked to fight for championships or victories and that’s what I want.” However, Gasly was also thankful to Franz Tost and the whole Torro Rosso team saying, “I want to do everything I can to give them a season to celebrate” over the rest of 2018.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitted, “Since Pierre first stepped into a Formula 1 seat with Scuderia Toro Rosso less than a year ago he has proved the undoubted talent that Red Bull has nurtured since his early career. We look forward to Pierre bringing his speed, skill and attitude to the team in 2019.”
This adds another ingredient to the F1 driver market for 2019 with Torro Rosso needing to find another driver to replace Gasly and partner Brendon Hartley – if he stays with the team next year. One option is the current European Formula 3 Championship leader Dan Ticktum, but there are worries he won’t be able to get a superlicence. Another option could be Stoffel Vandoorne if the Belgian is dropped by McLaren or if not, maybe Lando Norris after they tried to replace Hartley with him earlier in the season.
By Jordan Hollands.