‘They usually remain loyal to that decision’: Ex-F1 driver on Gasly’s Red Bull future

Pierre Gasly endured an incredibly difficult half-season in 2019 at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen.

Former Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger insists that Pierre Gasly deserves another go at Red Bull after his exceptional performances with Scuderia AlphaTauri.

Gasly earned a chance at the Red Bull team after scoring points five times in 2018, including a fourth-placed finish in Bahrain, helping him to a fifteenth-placed Drivers’ Championship finish.

However, his half-season at the Milton Keynes side was a baptism of fire alongside the astonishing talent of Max Verstappen, and he was out-qualified 11 times in 12 races by the Dutchman.

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He failed to stand on the podium while the now 24-year-old won in Austria and claimed four more podiums in the opening part of the season, leading Red Bull to the decision to drop him.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said during the second season of Drive to Survive that Gasly’s move to the main fold was “premature,” and Berger concedes that the signing of the Frenchman was ill-timed.

“When Red Bull makes a decision, they usually remain loyal to that decision. They give you the chance, but Gasly got it at the wrong time,” he told Motorsport.com.

Having re-joined Toro Rosso, he out-qualified Daniil Kvyat seven times in the latter part of the season, and scored a podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix to the delight of fans after watching him endure such a difficult start to 2019.

The Rouen-born racer would claim his maiden victory at the Italian Grand Prix in 2020, before a podium at last year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix gave confirmation that he has come out of the other side of the Red Bull heartbreak a better driver than he was before.

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As a result, Berger would love to see him receive another shot alongside the reigning world champion.

“Besides against Max Verstappen it is not easy anyway, but I think he is good enough for a second chance,” he explained.

“He is doing great and is a good driver.”

Gasly’s replacement Alex Albon was dropped at the end of 2020 after a difficult season of his own, and his two podium finishes were not enough to keep him at the four-time constructors’ champions.

Instead of the 26-year-old, Albon was replaced by Sergio Perez from Racing Point and, with the Mexican – who the aforementioned race in Baku – out of contract at the end of this year, this could be Gasly’s opportunity.

“Now that Max has signed a contract forever, it is much easier, because you no longer have to deal with two new drivers,” added the former McLaren and Ferrari driver.

“If Gasly has a good season, I’ll give him a good chance.”

The three-time podium finisher joined Red Bull at a time when Verstappen was also hungry to prove his title credentials, and this did not help matters.

“Max had to show himself at that time too, but I’m sure he will handle his team-mate differently today. He is now the World Champion and relaxed,” said the 62-year-old.

“Maybe it was too early for Gasly to take on someone like Max.

“Then you get another team-mate, who may not be as fast as Max and you are suddenly a superstar. Sometimes it also depends on the timing.”

Gasly himself is out of contract at AlphaTauri at the end of 2023, and he has previously admitted he is unsure what he will do if Red Bull do not come knocking by the start of the 2024 season.

“It’s clear: either we make the move to Red Bull, or not. What happens after that, it’s far too early to talk about that. I am now focusing on this year, that it goes as well as possible,” he said.

“But it is clear that I want to be in a fast car that I can fight with for victories. That is the only thing that matters to me.

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“I want to win races in Formula 1 and I need a car that allows me to do that. We will discuss it with Helmut when the time comes.”

2016 world champion Nico Rosberg has also previously stated his surprise that Red Bull have not yet signed the “awesome” Gasly back in light of his brilliant performances since he left.