Pierre Gasly believes that it will be “strange” to return to the Silverstone International Circuit, two years after his most recent visit – one that proved to be bittersweet.
Gasly took his maiden GP2 Series win at Silverstone on his way to the 2016 championship, however a road accident on the Friday of that weekend left the Frenchman with a broken vertebra and his mother in intensive car for two months with more serious injuries.
“In some ways, it will be strange for me to go back to Silverstone,” said Gasly.
“The last time I raced there was in 2016 when I took my first ever GP2 win. To do that was great, but it was also the weekend when I was involved in a road traffic accident in a car with my parents. It was a very big crash on the way to the track on Friday and I broke a vertebra.
“But my mother was far more seriously hurt, spending two months in hospital in intensive care and she came close to dying. So over the weekend, I went through all sorts of emotions.”
The Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda driver expressed his love of the circuit and eagerness to circulate it in a modern generation Formula 1 car for the first time. Gasly revealed that the team is staying in Bicester, the site of Toro Rosso’s wind tunnel facility and 19 miles south of the track, and he will also be paying a first visit to Honda‘s Milton Keynes base.
“As for the circuit I really love it,” he added. “The layout is very complicated and features some legendary corners.
“Going through the run of Maggotts and Becketts in a current Formula 1 car is going to be really impressive. Plus, there is always a very special atmosphere here with all the enthusiastic English fans. It makes for a really top weekend and I’m really looking forward to it.
“We’re staying in Bicester, which is where Toro Rosso has its wind tunnel and before the weekend gets underway, I will be making my first ever visit to Honda’s F1 facility in Milton Keynes.
“I plan to motivate everyone there to keep pushing hard to keep making progress for the rest of the season.”
Toro Rosso and Gasly have been exceeding pre-season expectations in the first nine rounds of the season, currently sitting in eighth and thirteenth in the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships respectively. The 22-year-old has scored 18 of the 19 points the Faenza-based team has accumulated in 2018 so far.
Yesterday, the Red Bull backed drivers were invited to partake in a clay pigeon shooting event by Aston Martin Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner in association with their Wings For Life charity – prior to the meeting, Gasly joked that he would try “not to shoot anyone by mistake”.
“All the Red Bull drivers are invited by Christian Horner to take part in a clay pigeon shooting event,” he explained.
“It will be a first for me and I’ll be trying not to shoot anyone by mistake!
“I actually lived in Milton Keynes, not far from the track for a year and a half a few years back. I spent a lot of time working in the Red Bull Racing simulator, so it’s nice to go back there.”