Christian Horner feels Pierre Gasly has embraced the move from Aston Martin Red Bull Racing back to Scuderia Toro Rosso, and has regained his confidence after a difficult spell at the beginning of 2019.
Gasly was promoted to Red Bull in place of Daniel Ricciardo at the beginning of 2019 but was dropped in favour of Alexander Albon after the summer break after failing to impress his new team. However, rather than him leaving Formula 1, it was decided that Gasly would return to Toro Rosso, the team that he began his career in the sport back in 2017.
Since his return, he has been a driver in form, with Gasly securing his maiden podium finish with a superb second place finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix, and Horner, the Team Principal at Red Bull, says he has thrived being away from the pressure of being Max Verstappen’s team-mate by being back at Toro Rosso.
“I think the way he embraced the change,” said Horner to Motorsport.com. “He had two choices. He could either have got depressed about it, or be grateful for the fact that he was still involved in Formula 1 and that Red Bull still believed in him.
“I think he embraced it rather than got dejected by it. And I think there was almost a slight relief as well because obviously the pressure only mounts [in F1], and he came into the season after two crashes. Then, there were some really tough races for him and you guys [the media] don’t cut much slack either.
“So the pressure only builds, and I think it was the right thing to remove him from that pressure. It’s been good to see him really find his confidence at Toro Rosso.”
Despite being dropped, Horner insists Red Bull would bring Gasly back into the main team in the future, and the team still believe in the Frenchman’s talent and ability else they would have severed ties with him completely.
“If we didn’t believe he was a candidate for us we would have released him from the contract,” said Horner. “But obviously we still believe in his talents and that’s why we retained him within the group.”
Helmut Marko, an advisor for Red Bull Racing and a long-time supporter of the Frenchman throughout his pre-Formula 1 career, says Formula 1 is again seeing the real Pierre Gasly since his return to Toro Rosso, and this would not have happened had he remained with Red Bull.
“He’s recovered, and now we see the real Pierre,” said Marko to Motorsport.com. “We always believed in him.
“It was positive for him, otherwise at Red Bull Racing I think he never would have recovered.”