Scuderia Toro Rosso stand in Pierre Gasly is set to miss the United States Grand Prix next weekend, to instead battle it out for the Super Formula Series title at Suzuka, where he is just half a point adrift of the current leader.
The Frenchman replaced Russian driver Daniil Kvyat at the Faenza based squad for the last two Formula 1 rounds of Malaysia and Japan, to allow Red Bull Racing time to evaluate the 21-year-old’s performance ahead of a possible full-time race seat with Toro Rosso in 2018.
Gasly had previously stated that he would forgo his championship hopes in Japan to continue racing in Formula 1, whilst Toro Rosso also confirmed he would remain with the squad in the USA.
Honda, who will provide the engine power for the Faenza based squad in 2018, had also stated they would not stop Gasly from racing in the US, but would be happy for him to return to Japan if a replacement Formula 1 driver could be sought.
However, Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko suggested that decision was yet to be made, and low and behold, Gasly will now return to Team Mugen to contest the Super Formula title, according to Autosport.com.
With current driver, and main point’s scorer Carlos Sainz Jr. making an early move to the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team for the next race in Austin, Kvyat was already set to return to Toro Rosso at the next round of the season. However, Team Principal Franz Tost is now keen to bring in a further driver, to allow him to consider his options for the squad’s 2018 driver line-up.
Who Gasly’s replacement will be is yet to be confirmed, but the Frenchman is expected to be back in a Formula 1 seat at Toro Rosso for the final three races of the season, and is still the most likely replacement for Sainz Jr. in 2018.