Honda motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto believes Pierre Gasly should race in the United States Grand Prix later this month, even if it means sacrificing a possible title for the Frenchman in the Japanese-based Super Formula championship.
Gasly made his Formula 1 debut for Scuderia Toro Rosso in the Malaysian Grand Prix and followed that up with a thirteenth place finish at the Suzuka International Racing Course this weekend, but with a date clash between the US Grand Prix and the Super Formula finale, ironically at Suzuka.
Should Gasly race in the United States, then Honda will lose the Super Formula championship title to Toyota, and even if this is the case, Yamamoto would be happy for this sacrifice as the priority for any young driver is to race in Formula 1.
“We believe Gasly should race in Austin with Toro Rosso,” said Yamamoto to Motorsport.com. “We want him to race there but if there is anybody who can drive instead of Gasly in Austin, we’re happy to have him in Super Formula.
“We are not pushing for him to race in Super Formula. Of course it is important for Honda to win the Super Formula title in Japan but we think the priority is having him in F1.
“Helmut Marko thinks it is important to have the Super Formula title but he also thinks Formula 1 is the priority so we agree in that point of view.”
Yamamoto feels it would be perfect for Gasly to remain with Toro Rosso for the remainder of the 2017 season to gain experience ahead of a possible full-time promotion to the team next year, and with Carlos Sainz Jr. departing the team following the Japanese Grand Prix, the Frenchman is likely to stay for the final four races.
“We would like Pierre to finish the rest of the season with Toro Rosso as he is a potential regular driver for the team next year,” said Yamamoto.
“So he should gather as much experience as he can in Formula 1 this year.”