Red Bull Racing announced signing of Pierre Gasly in the senior team for the 2019 Formula 1 season.
In only his first full season with Toro Rosso Honda this year, Gasly has been awarded the senior Red Bull seat for the 2019 season joining forces with Max Verstappen as a replacement to Daniel Ricciardo.
“To be awarded a drive at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing from 2019 is a dream come true for me, I’m so excited to be joining this top Team,” said Gasly. “It has been my goal to race for this Team since I joined the Red Bull Junior Driver Programme in 2013, and this incredible opportunity is another step forward in my ambition to win Grands Prix and compete for World Championships.
“Red Bull has always looked to fight for championships or victories and that’s what I want. I’m a really competitive guy and when I do something it’s always to fight for the best and top positions.
“As hugely exciting a moment as this is, I am fully aware of the challenge this special opportunity offers me and the expectations that faces any driver at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.
“I’m looking forward to rewarding the faith that Dietrich Mateshitz, Christian Horner and Dr Helmut Marko have placed in me. The first phase of that is to keep pushing for ultimate performance and the best results in 2018 that I can achieve for my Team, Scuderia Toro Rosso.
“I wish to thank Franz Tost and everyone at Toro Rosso and the factory in Faenza for giving me the golden opportunity of a drive in Formula One and their amazing commitment and support, which I know will continue for the rest of this season. My focus now is to do everything I can to give them a season to celebrate.”
Team principal Christian Horner added: “Since Pierre first stepped into a Formula One seat with Scuderia Toro Rosso less than a year ago he has proved the undoubted talent that Red Bull has nurtured since his early career.
“His stellar performances this year at the Honda-powered team, in only his first full season in Formula One, have only enhanced his reputation as one of the most exciting young drivers in motorsport and we look forward to Pierre bringing his speed, skill and attitude to the Team in 2019.
“While our immediate focus remains fully on achieving our best result in the 2018 World Championship, we look forward to competing in 2019 with Max and Pierre at the wheel of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.”
The Frenchman made his Toro Rosso debut in 2017 after winning the GP2 Series title in 2016 and was handed a full-time seat for 2018 with the Red Bull’s junior team. He has had a sound season so far with fourth in Bahrain his highlight.
Sooner than later he would have got the Red Bull seat but his placement was fast-tracked after both Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz chose to move away from the Red Bull backing. Ricciardo opted to join Renault with Sainz confirmed at McLaren.
It more or less confirmed Gasly’s chances with Red Bull. This now leaves Toro Rosso in a bothering situation where Brendon Hartley’s seat looks certain for 2019. His teammate will be a big question mark with no Red Bull talent available for a F1 drive.
The idea was to get Dan Ticktum in, but the British driver doesn’t have enough points on his superlicense and even with a win in the FIA European F3 Championship, it will not be enough. Even the Honda juniors haven’t showcased supreme talent so far.
Certain reports links McLaren reserve Lando Norris as the possible driver, but Red Bull so far has never signed anyone outside its junior programme. They might have an option to call either a former driver or a junior member if they decide to stick with their own people.