Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, Interlagos, 2018

“When you feel that there is potential that is not used, it’s is always annoying”

Pierre Gasly driver performance analysis

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Pierre Gasly rebounded impressively from the crushing blow of losing his Red Bull drive after just 12 starts for the team.

Having been relegated back to his former team, Gasly scored points consistently for Toro Rosso, and even snatched a surprise second place in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

“It’s been such a rollercoaster for me this season,” said Gasly, who suffered a terrible personal blow during his first race weekend back at Toro Rosso when his childhood friend Anthoine Hubert was killed in a Formula 2 crash.

Seven races later, Gasly was celebrating his unexpected first appearance on the rostrum. “To end the season with my first podium in F1, in Toro Rosso, which was their third podium in history, of course, was something really special.”

Qualifying: Lap time

The lower the lines, the better the driver performed

At Red Bull, Gasly generally languished well off Max Verstappen’s pace. Azerbaijan and Canada were the only exceptions – at the former his lap time was subsequently deleted for a technical infringement, and in Canada Verstappen was caught out by a red flag.

But even by Hungary there was little sign Gasly was cutting the gap to his team mate. Following his change of teams, Gasly was much closer than new team mate Daniil Kvyat, and often quicker.

Looking back on his time at Red Bull, Gasly says there are many things he would have done differently. “I think that [was] my responsibility partly,” he said, “and then maybe everybody in the team was [also] partly responsible for the lack of performance.

“Of course when you feel that there is potential that is not used, it’s is always annoying. But at the end of the day Formula 1 is a big sport. There are many things you don’t have under control and you just need to do that the best you can with all these parameters.

“Sometimes everything comes together and sometimes it doesn’t. Of course there were many, many, many things I would have done differently. But this is done. There were many lessons taken.

“As a driver I know a lot more about what I need. And if I will need to do the same thing again there are a lot of things I will change. But now I just need to focus on the future. I’m 23 years old, I have many years in front of me. At the end of the day, my only answer will be on the track, and that’s the only thing I’m going to focus on.”

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Race: Start versus finish

Gasly’s poor qualifying performances earlier in the season meant there were too many occasions when he had to fight his way through the midfield.

There were occasions when he seemed to have made a breakthrough and his Red Bull ran where it belonged with the other front-runners. But these were followed by less successful races in Germany and Hungary, where he was back among the McLarens and Alfa Romeos.

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Race: Share of points

Race: Results versus other drivers

Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, Hockenheimring, 2019
Gasly’s Red Bull stint didn’t go well
Soon after his move to Toro Rosso it was clear Gasly was able to exploit the potential of his new car much better than his Red Bull.

“In the second half of the season, the main lesson on my side that I’ve learned is I realised how much of a team sport Formula 1 is,” he said. “I think that’s the main lesson I’ve learned over the last couple of months.

“We’ve showed with Toro Rosso since I returned in Spa that we have had really competitive races, really competitive weekends, couple of Q3s, points finishes,” he added on the weekend he scored that astonishing podium finish.

“It’s been a really strong second part of the season and I really enjoyed working with the team since I came back in Spa. They’ve given me everything I need to perform consistently every weekend, which at the end makes it more enjoyable.”

However Gasly keeping tight-lipped about exactly what went wrong at Red Bull. “I’ve got my book where I’ve written all the stuff that was not correct or were not the way I would have needed it to be,” he said. “But for now, I’ll keep the book private.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 11 comments on ““When you feel that there is potential that is not used, it’s is always annoying””

    1. If there was one driver who exemplified a season of two halves, it was Gasly.

      I’d personally written him off, and was questioning his 2018 performances, a couple of races into 2019. Boy, did he come storming back into the fray after a demotion.

      For all its technology and complexity, Gasly shows the human in the sport – while he could have becomes a shadow of his former self after the demotion (à la Kvyat), he instead flipped it around and put in some great performances, as shown by the doughnut chart of point share.

      I’m not sure his performances are good enough to get him back into the top team (and I’m not sure how much he might be willing to go through that wringer again), but he might just be an option for other midfield teams to consider – someone like Haas, for instance.

      And to me, Gasly in 2019 will serve as a lesson that I will never decipher all that goes into a driver’s F1 performance.

      1. Great point you make there about how much of this sport is about the humans in there @phylyp

      2. @phylyp I got a lasting impression about him, dating back from his GP2 tenure. He’s got that one lap speed but for some reason has some results instability (his racecraft is really perfectible imo). Giovinazzi came so close to bag the championship that year. Gasly seemed to crack under pressure as well as having some misfortunes and was able to save it all in the last minute. Last year too he seemed lost in the Red Bull but then wake up once demoted. I hope he can fix that and get some added consistency.

    2. I hardly see a comeback for Gasly after that. If he was fast at RBR but making too many errors, the demotion could make him more mature and balanced.

      But that wasn’t the case. He was slow and making errors. The Toro Rosso part of the year was fine, but what about that extra speed needed to be considered by a top team?

      Maybe RBR didn’t give him the right tools…

      Can anybody see him driving for a top team in the future?

      1. If Gasly can’t adjust then i have no hope for him at a top team. Great driver can drive anything they are given fast!

      2. Is he too fragile for that I wonder (don’t get me wrong, he’s just human, but I feel sometime the best drivers are not that human anymore). But is there any single example of a driver being demoted / sacked only to be reinstated later on?

        1. Demoted and reinstated: maybe we’ve seen it for the lack of discipline, like first Raikkonen stint at Ferrari.

          Never for the lack of speed, as I remember.

    3. I had great hopes for Gasly but from the start it looked like he was under great pressure (even at testing) to preform. It almost looked like he wanted to beat Max and failed todo so…… Then he returns to Torro Rosso and he became his old self again…..

    4. Reading between the lines, he suggests he might reveal what he’s written up about his stint at RBR at some point, even if only a few years later. I’m referring to the ‘for now’ part in the paragraph. Maybe he’d get an autobiography by then in which he could put that info. As much as I’d wish him to get back to RBR, it, unfortunately for him, would require his successor to under-perform quite significantly, which is something I wouldn’t want to happen.

      1. Not only: if I hired him at red bull I would give him a race-by-race contract: you don’t want a fisichella-frentzen type of driver at a top team, drivers who can drive a midfield car well enough to be top drivers and then when they get to a top team perform like the worst driver of the current field, so race-by-race contract to test if he’s able to drive a top car properly or he’s destined to the midfield.

    5. I bet he ends up at Renault. If Ocon doesn’t pan out I expect they will pick up Gasly.

    Comments are closed.