In the 14th episode of Formula 1’s ‘Beyond The Grid’ podcast, Pierre Gasly talks about his move to Red Bull, learning about Honda, strained relation with Esteban Ocon, help from Sebastian Vettel and more.
Gasly started the podcast revealing about his journey into the sport and how it all begun where his grandfather, his dad and also his siblings used to race in karts but it was Pierre who eventually took up racing full-time.
He says that his dad used to compete in rallies but a huge crash ended his career. The Frenchman reveals hugely about his family and the background in the middle of the podcast and how they gel together.
On his Red Bull Racing move, Gasly talks about Helmut Marko’s phone call to tell him that Daniel Ricciardo will move to Renault. He says the decision wasn’t made that day itself but in two weeks time, he was told about his promotion.
The discussion was between him and Carlos Sainz but Red Bull opted to promote Gasly. He says he had a chat with Max Verstappen in those two weeks as to how the team works and few nuances of the outfit.
He then discusses the relationship with Honda and learning the Japanese culture which propelled him to create a better relationship with the manufacturer to eke out performance from them – something which perhaps lacked with McLaren.
The time in Super Formula helped him to understand Honda a bit more which is now reaping results with Toro Rosso and could be beneficial with Red Bull in 2019. One key aspect is to give Honda time to deliver and once given, they are to achieve the goals.
While chatting about his younger days, he came across his friendship with Racing Point Force India’s Esteban Ocon. The two French drivers started their career pretty much at the same time in karting.
The two bonded well in their early days but slowly it turned bad as Gasly recalls one incident in karting. The rivalry then continued on in single-seaters – even though they have respect for each other as racing drivers, the friendship is no longer there.
Gasly is disheartened with the lost bonding but has moved on and enjoys his time with the likes of Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Stoffel Vandoorne and Charles Leclerc. When asked if he hopes the same doesn’t happens with Verstappen, Gasly was optimistic.
He insisted that the relation and mutual respect on and off the track is there with Verstappen but only time will tell how it goes on. As he somewhat steps into Verstappen’s team in Red Bull, Gasly said he would let his results speak if there is any commotion.
Since he doesn’t have any manager nor has any family background in F1, Gasly doesn everything on his own from sorting out a contract to negotiating deals. He revealed of the tough time when he didn’t get his F1 break despite the GP2 title.
He spoke to Red Bull’s former driver Vettel in Mexico then about his situation. Gasly was happy with the advice from the four-time champion about joining Super Formula and keep on learning to eventually impress the Red Bull team.
Apart from Vettel, Gasly said he also spoke with Lewis Hamilton outside the F1 circus to get some tips from the four-time champion. He ends the podcast talking about his future goals as he now becomes a leading French driver in F1 in a top team.
Excerpts from the podcast on Vettel (via F1.com):
“I get on really well with Seb. He’s been a good help for me,” said Gasly. “I went to see him after GP2 because it was pretty difficult for me winning the GP2 championship [in 2016] and then not getting the chance to go straight into F1 – being in a good place [with Red Bull] but at the wrong time.
“I just went to see him to say ‘Okay, what do you think about my situation? How do you see things and what kind of advice can you give me?’ We sat down, I remember, in Mexico after the drivers’ briefing and he was just super friendly and super nice.
“He told me his experiences with Red Bull and what he thinks, what I should do and the kind of advice that a world champion can give to a younger driver. He told me Super Formula was a great chance to go abroad and that I just need to keep pushing and show them [Red Bull] that you don’t give up, because they keep testing you.
“Even now with the position I’m going to be in, I spoke with Seb a bit and for me at the end of the day he is one of my idols. That may sound a bit strange but he’s someone I looked at in karting and it’s great to be in F1 with him now.
“We’re going to fight next year but he’s someone I really respect a lot and he’s impressive as a person. Really smart and really humble and for me I really enjoy to catch up with this kind of guy and always learn things from the experience.”
[Listen: Alain Prost]