‘No sad face’ from Pierre Gasly after Red Bull demotion

Pierre Gasly was dropped back down to Toro Rosso after a horrible half season at Red Bull in 2019.

AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton has praised Pierre Gasly for his attitude after returning to the junior side having been dropped by Red Bull.

Following a solid season with Toro Rosso – AlphaTauri’s previous guise – in 2018, Gasly was promoted to the main fold to replace Daniel Ricciardo when the Australian left for Renault.

However, the move went horribly for the Frenchman as he was out-qualified 11-1 by Max Verstappen in his half season there, and he did not manage a podium finish while the Dutchman won two races.

Team boss Christian Horner admitted that Gasly’s promotion was “premature,” and the now 26-year-old was dropped back to Toro Rosso to be replaced with Alex Albon, who had only spent half a season with the Faenza-based squad as a rookie.

READ: Pierre Gasly opens up on relationship with ‘pain in the ass’ Yuki Tsunoda

Gasly has often been vocal about wanting to return to Red Bull in the future, but Egginton reveals that he came back to the junior outfit and got straight on with the job at hand.

“I think Pierre himself has been clear in explaining his feelings and emotions over that,” he said on the Beyond the Grid Podcast.

“But in all honesty, you know, he left our team, he came back, he hopped in the car, and we got on with it without any consideration of what it come from.

“He was straight back on it, it was like he’d never been away, and I have to say it’s a credit to him that he just got on with it.

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“You know, there was no sad face or anything, and straight away we were really happy to be working with him again.

“It’s not something we talked about a lot, really. Before he came back, we suddenly thought, ‘I wonder what he’s going to be like’.

“But in all credit to him, he got straight back on with it and the engineers got on with it. And we’ve just worked with him and we’re happy working with him.

“And believe it or not, it was not such a big thing. It was like ‘okay, we know him, he’s coming back. Let’s crack on.’”

Since returning to the Italian squad, Gasly has been on the podium three times, with the first arriving at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix as he finished second behind race winner Verstappen, and the Frenchman went on to win in Monza the following season.

He returned to the rostrum in Baku in 2021, but he is faced with an underperforming car that has taken him to just three points finishes so far this year.

READ: Pierre Gasly fires warning at AlphaTauri as he says ‘there is nothing to do’

Overall though, Egginton believes that his driver came back a much better racing driver than before he left for Red Bull at the end of 2018.

“Yeah definitely, I think so,” he added.

“It’s often said, you know, you learn from good and bad experiences, but he came back a better driver and he came back mentally strong – which is why I say there was no big drama really.

“He knew what he wanted to do, he knew where he wanted to go, we were at a point where we had a bit of an upturn in form. 

“The car was looking good [and] he contributed to the development of that car so we never really had any point where we were saying, ‘I don’t know really what’s going on here’.

“He was straight on it so it was that straightforward for us, which was fantastic.”

Gasly currently sits 13th in the Drivers’ Standings, five points and three positions ahead of team-mate Yuki Tsunoda as AlphaTauri endeavour to find some consistency.

The three-time podium finisher’s contract is up at the end of next season, at which time he is looking in contention for Daniel Ricciardo’s seat at McLaren.

Verstappen’s current team-mate, Sergio Perez, now has a contract that keeps him at Red Bull until at least the end of 2024.