Gasly announced to be Ricciardo’s replacement
The 22-year-old Gasly, who currently drives for Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso, will line up alongside Max Verstappen after Australian Ricciardo leaves for Renault at the end of the 2018 campaign.
Gasly comes from a motorsports family, with all four of his brothers also comfortable behind the wheel. Gasly’s racing career could be traced back to the young age of six. He was eager to race and began karting before advancing to single-seater cars. Thereafter he won a first title in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 in 2013 before being recruited by Red Bull and winning a GP2 title in 2016.
Gasly said the chance to drive for a top team was something he’s been striving for since he started racing.
“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,” said Gasly.
The Frenchman only made his Formula One debut at the Malaysian Grand Prix last October, but has since scored 26 points for Toro Rosso this year, with a best finish of fourth in Bahrain. He is 13th in the drivers’ standings and has scored 24 more points than the second Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has described Gasly as “one of the most exciting young drivers in motorsport” and lauded what he will bring to the team.
“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,” Horner said.
“We look forward to Pierre bringing his speed, skill and attitude to the team in 2019.”
Horner also pointed out that Gasly brings valuable technical experience because Red Bull are switching engines next season from Renault to Honda, who already supply Toro Rosso.
“Red Bull has always looked to fight for championships or victories and that’s what I want,” added Gasly.
“I’m a really competitive guy and when I do something it’s always to fight for the best and top positions.”
With nine races left in a season that does not end until November 25 in Abu Dhabi, the announcement means that several of the top teams have already made significant moves in the annual swapping of drivers’ seats.
Since Ricciardo confirmed his exit to Renault at the start of the season, Fernando Alonso has announced he will sit out F1 2019 with Carlos Sainz taking his place at McLaren. It means that when the season resumes this weekend with the Belgian GP, one of nine races left in the year, four drivers — Gasly, Sainz, Ricciardo and Alonso — will be driving in seats they will vacate in 2019. Gasly’s experience with the Honda power unit this year will be invaluable for the senior team.