Pierre Gasly steps up to partner Max Verstappen at Red Bull this year, but the Frenchman has made it clear he is not going planning to play second fiddle to his Dutch superstar teammate and his team do not expect that of him either.
Two young guns with fire in their belly sharing a garage, Gasly versus Verstappen is one of several intriguing subplots Formula 1 fans can expect during the forthcoming season, one that is sure to deliver tons of column inches.”
Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko confirmed to Auto Bild, “He’s not a number two driver, that’s off limits at Red Bull.”
“Max stepped up his game last season and Daniel Ricciardo felt it. My guess is that Gasly will be closer to Max in qualifying This is normal for a debutant in a top team.”
Verstappen is well established in the energy drinks outfit, the de facto team leader, while Gasly – after graduating with flying colours from Toro Rosso – will be looking to assert himself within the outfit.
This is not the first time that Marko has assured that their new driver will not be restrained, “Gasly comes as a youngster so it’s very clear that he has to adhere to the rules of Red Bull Racing.”
“It’s easy: Max is much more familiar with the team. Gasly is free to race. He just needs to show performance. They are equal,” Marko told Sky F1 late last year.
Team principal Christian Horner is also upbeat about their new charge, “I think it will be a challenge for Pierre but one that he’s up for.”
“He’s come through the same programme as Max and he’s here because we believe he’s the best upcoming talent and he deserves that opportunity in the car. So we’re expecting big things from Pierre,” added Horner.
Big Question: Can Pierre match Max in 2019?