Christian Horner is of the view that Pierre Gasly embraced his demotion from Red Bull Racing for better F1 results than feel dejected by it.
Gasly was demoted from Red Bull following a string poor performances at the start of the 2019 F1 season as he replaced by Alexander Albon, who will keep his seat alongside Max Verstappen in 2020 as well, with Gasly to stay back in Toro Rosso.
Already the news of his demotion from Red Bull would have come as a disappointment for the Frenchman, but Red Bull F1 team principle Horner feels that Gasly has actually taken the decision in his stride rather than get dejected by it.
“He had two choices – he could either have got depressed about it or be grateful for the fact that he was still involved in F1 and that Red Bull still believed in him,” said Horner. “And I think he embraced it rather than got dejected by it.
“I think there was almost a slight relief as well so because obviously, the pressure only mounts and he came into the season after two crashes then there was some really tough races for him, the media as well 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. And it’s been good to see him really find his confidence at Toro Rosso.” Ever since the move to the Fazena-based outfit, Gasly has been a different animal.
He has been in a good form and the results include his first F1 podium in Brazil GP coupled with a number of best-of-the-rest finishes outside he Top 3, allowing the now-Toro Rosso driver to jump back to sixth in the drivers’ standings.
Theorising about why his form has changed so drastically from a poor-performer at Red Bull, to a star at Toro Rosso, Horner pointed to the lower pressure environment. “I think he’s [Pierre’s] doing a very good job,” started Horner.
“I mean, I think that moving him from the pressured environment here, putting him back into the slightly less pressured environment at Toro Rosso, perhaps in a car that is slightly easier to drive, his confidence has been recovering and recovering and he’s put in some great performances and that’s why we took up the option on him again for 2020.”
The Red Bull boss also noted, however, that he is confident that Gasly has the capability to perform in high pressure, despite this having been a problem and that was one reason why they kept him in the Red Bull programme rather than push him out totally.
Here’s Honda on 2019 F1 results
Pierre Gasly enjoyed the brief tussle against Lewis Hamilton in Brazil
Here’s what Ross Brawn had to say on multiple topics
Mercedes admits of getting their strategy wrong while Red Bull got theirs right
Alexander Albon was not angry on Lewis Hamilton in Brazil
This story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani