Pierre Gasly admitted the experience he had during the Italian Grand Prix has made him be more careful with what he says to the media.
The Red Bull Junior Team racer told reporters at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza last September that he was set to replace Daniil Kvyat in the Scuderia Toro Rosso line-up, but nothing had been confirmed and ultimately the Russian kept his seat with Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport advisor, admitting surprise at his words.
Following clarification with Marko, Gasly refocused and ultimately claimed the 2016 GP2 Series title, but the Frenchman admitted that the confusion about the whole ordeal in Italy was a tough one to bear and one he will learn from.
“I learned that I need to be more careful with the media,” said Gasly to Motorsport.com. “It was quite a tough time for me after this big mess, because I remember at Monza, that weekend, people were telling me I would replace Daniil for the next races.
“For me it was always clear in my mind that the only person in Red Bull who could make this decision is Helmut. For me it was quite tough, I remember the situation pretty well: I never said I would replace Daniil, just that I was hoping it was true. You always want to be in F1, so I really hoped it was true.
“But I’m not stupid, I will not say something if it was not true, especially knowing how Helmut deals with these kind of things. After that Helmut called me to clarify the situation, but then everything came back to normal. You always learn from these kinds of experiences. Even though it’s not really good when you go through these things, it’s useful for the future.”
Despite being overlooked again in 2017 for a Formula 1 ride, Gasly does not believe that 2018 would be his last opportunity to reach the pinnacle of single seater racing, feeling that at just twenty-one years of age, he still has a few years available him in order to make the move.
Gasly is following in the footsteps of 2015 GP2 Series champion Stoffel Vandoorne in 2017 with his move to Japan and the Super Formula championship, and it gives him the opportunity again to show his speed after being fast in all categories he has competed in to date.
“At the moment I’m 21, I’m young… Stoffel is 25 now, and he still got his chance in F1,” said Gasly. “Everyone says age is only a number, to get in F1 you have to show you deserve to be there – so the performance should be the only criteria. As long as I’m competitive, I think the chances will be there.
“But at the moment the full focus is on making it happen for 2018, and then we will see what happens.
“I’ve done Formula 4, Formula Renault 2.0, 3.5, GP2, and now Super Formula. So I think I have a pretty good experience of many different cars, and so far I’ve always finished in the top three in every series I’ve done.
“It didn’t happen this year but hopefully there will be an opportunity next season.”