Red Bull Racing has confirmed Pierre Gasly will join the Milton Keynes squad in 2019 in place of the Renault-bound Daniel Ricciardo.
Gasly, who only made his Formula 1 debut ten months ago at the Malaysian Grand Prix, will partner Max Verstappen at the senior Red Bull team. With Ricciardo sensationally departing for the Renault factory team next year, Gasly’s upward pathway through the Red Bull Junior Program’s ranks makes perfect sense.
“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,” said Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing’s Team Principal.
“His stellar performances this year at the Honda-powered team, in only his first full season in Formula One, have only enhanced his reputation as one of the most exciting young drivers in motorsport and we look forward to Pierre bringing his speed, skill and attitude to the team in 2019.”
Gasly will bring practical knowledge to the former World Championship winning team as it switches to Honda power for the upcoming season. The Frenchman, who won the 2016 GP2 Series title, finished a superb fourth at the Bahrain Grand Prix in April (pictured top) to prove the capability of the Honda power units which had previously struggled with reliability and power output in a disastrous three-year partnership with McLaren.
“To be awarded a drive at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing from 2019 is a dream come true for me,” the 22-year old added.
“Red Bull has always looked to fight for championships or victories and that’s what I want. I’m a really competitive guy and when I do something it’s always to fight for the best and top positions.
“As hugely exciting a moment as this is, I am fully aware of the challenge this special opportunity offers me and the expectations that faces any driver at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. I’m looking forward to rewarding the faith that Dietrich Mateshitz, Christian Horner and Dr Helmut Marko have placed in me.
“I’m so excited to be joining this top team. It has been my goal to race for this team since I joined the Red Bull Junior Driver Programme in 2013, and this incredible opportunity is another step forward in my ambition to win Grands Prix and compete for World Championships.”
Gasly joined the Red Bull Junior Team in 2014 while racing at Arden in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. He finished second in the championship and took eight podiums before stepping in as a last-minute replacement at Caterham Racing in the GP2 Series.
In 2015, he moved to DAMS for a permanent seat in GP2, racking up four podiums. In 2016, the then 20-year old signed with PREMA Racing and went on to win the championship after a season-long battle with teammate and Ferrari Academy driver Antonio Giovinazzi.
With a full-time seat at Toro Rosso unavailable in 2017, Red Bull placed him in the Japanese Super Formula championship. He was a championship contender but had to forego at shot at the title when given a call-up to join Scuderia Toro Rosso ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix to replace Daniil Kvyat. Despite missing the final two races of the Super Formula season, he still finished runner-up in the championship standings.
On top of his fourth-placed finish in Bahrain, Gasly has three Q3 appearances to-date and achieved further points’ finishes at the Monaco and Hungarian Grands Prixto put him thirteenth overall in the 2018 Formula 1 Championship StandingsDrivers’ Championship standings.
“I wish to thank Franz Tost and everyone at Toro Rosso and the factory in Faenza for giving me the golden opportunity of a drive in Formula One and their amazing commitment and support, which I know will continue for the rest of this season. My focus now is to do everything I can to give them a season to celebrate,” Gasly added, paying tribute to his current team.
Gasly’s departure will create some focus on Toro Rosso’s 2019 driver line-up. Gasly’s teammate Brendon Hartley has been shaded all season by the Frenchman and cannot be considered a certainty to be retained, however the Red Bull Junior Program lacks a decent pool of suitably qualified and experienced youngsters from which to select.
Images via Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso
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