Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda chief Dr. Helmut Marko is adamant that Max Verstappen‘s new team-mate Pierre Gasly will not have “number two” status within the team.
Gasly arrived at the Austrian outfit’s sister team Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda at the back end of 2017 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, replacing Daniil Kvyat. In his first full-season in 2018, the 22-year old had achieved 29 of the Italian team’s 33 points, resulting in a fifteenth Drivers’ Championship position and earned his seat at senior-team Red Bull, filling in for Daniel Ricciardo who had subsequently made the switch to Renault F1 Team.
Marko is convinced though that the Frenchman will have nothing to worry about once he begins life in his new team.
“He is not a number two driver,” Marko said to Auto Bild.
“That is off limits at Red Bull. Max took the next step last season and Daniel Ricciardo noticed that.
“But Max will give Gasly the time he needs, so my guess is that he’ll be closer to Max in qualifying. That is normal for a debutant in a top team.”
Despite Marko‘s plans, Gasly has already made Verstappen aware that he has joined Red Bull to play the number two role to another team-mate.
“Being one of the best drivers right now will be a great challenge for me,” Gasly told Motorsport-Total.
“It will take some time for me to be competitive, but I am not here to be the number two driver, that’s not what I want or what I’m happy with.
“These things take some time, and Max is one of the fastest guys in the paddock, which is super exciting for me, because it brings you to a higher level.
“For sure, I’ll be better over the course of the season.”