Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has admitted that the team’s “pressured environment” contributed to the downfall of Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon at the Milton Keynes-based team.
Gasly was signed as Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement in 2019 but he was axed after around half of a season, with him being demoted back to the sister team to make way for Albon.
The Thai driver was given more time at Red Bull than the Frenchman, but he was ultimately dropped at the end of 2020, with the team deciding that Sergio Perez was a stronger driver to have alongside Max Verstappen in 2021.
Speaking this week, Horner said that Perez’s F1 experience has proved invaluable and he also reflected on why Gasly and Albon didn’t succeed at Red Bull.
“I think he just gives us that experience,” Horner said on the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“He’s got 10 years’ worth of experience. He’s got an ability to manage the tyres within a race that is second to none. It just brings a different dynamic into the line-up.
“Both Pierre and Alex are tremendously gifted drivers, but timing just wasn’t right. Then the pressured environment that we have, and the expectation, it was very tough for them,” he added.
Continuing, Horner said that it was a “bold move to step out of the scheme this year with Sergio,” with the team signing a non-Red Bull junior driver for the first time since Mark Webber over a decade ago.
“But the way he settled in and the way he’s delivering, particularly after that victory in Bahrain last year, it would have been very tough for him not to be in Formula 1,” he added.
“I think he brings the dynamic in the fight that we have with Mercedes. That’s starting to pay dividends. You saw that in the French Grand Prix, and also Azerbaijan getting his first victory.
“The way he fended off Lewis, Lewis probably would have won that race had it not been for Sergio so he’s absolutely delivering,” the Red Bull team boss concluded.