Salo: Never before has Gasly been a slow driver

Red Bull “knows something we don’t” about Pierre Gasly’s trials and tribulations to get up to speed in 2019, but former F1 driver Mika Salo thinks there is more to the story about why Gasly is struggling.

Publicly, Dr Helmut Marko has called the Frenchman’s performance this year “unacceptable”, and is giving him until the summer break to up his game.

Daniil Kvyat, at the junior team Toro Rosso, looks the most likely to replace him.

Meanwhile, it was revealed recently that, amid the push by rival teams to revert to Pirelli’s 2018 tyres, Red Bull argued that Gasly, in particular, cannot get heat into the thinner-treaded 2019 F1 tyres.

Salo thinks the fact Gasly still has his job with the senior team is evidence that his struggle for pace is more than a case of mere poor performance.

“Red Bull usually reacts quite quickly with these things,” he told Ilta Sanomat newspaper. “If someone isn’t doing well, they are shown the door.

“I think Red Bull knows something we don’t. Within the team, I am sure they understand for sure what Gasly’s problem is, which is why he’s still there. Never before has he been a slow driver,” reckoned Salo.

While the Frenchman struggles, Max Verstappen in the sister car simply gets stronger and stronger with each race, winning the Austrian Grand Prix last time out, lapping Gasly in the process.

Verstappen is known to have had an updated wing for the Red Bull Ring which Gasly did not, suggesting that the team are increasingly focussing on their Dutch superstar, much as the team did during the Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber when the German was the ‘chosen one’ and on more than one occasion given preferential treatment.

Big Question: Are Gasly’s days numbered at Red Bull?

Marko: Gasly has to deliver by the summer break