Ricciardo is leaving Red Bull for Renault, Alonso decided that IndyCar is more up his alley, and Sainz will replace Alonso next year. Could the silly season get any better than this? Oh yes it can!
Enter Pierre Gasly, the 22-year-old Frenchman who racked up 26 points so far this year. For a rookie with five Grands Prix contested in 2017 as a replacement for Daniil Kvyat, that’s not bad at all for the youngster. Even more impressively, Gasly finished the second round of 2018 on fourth, proving that the Toro Rosso STR13 with the Honda hybrid power unit is nothing to scoff at.
Given these circumstances, as well as his titles in GP2 and the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, does it even come as a surprise Gasly will team up with Max Verstappen at Red Bull Racing in 2019? “I still need to be focused on the last part of the season with Toro Rosso, but I am really excited for next year already,” the Frenchman declared upon hearing the news.
“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,” declared Christian Horner, team principal of the raging bull of Formula 1.
In addition to his talent, two more things should be mentioned about this change. First of all, Gasly is the type of driver who understands that Red Bull Racing favors Max Verstappen. And on a close second, don’t forget that Gasly has experience with the Honda hybrid power unit that will be used by Red Bull Racing in 2019. To the point, it's the Frenchman's know-how that will give an edge to the car's setup.
“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,” concluded Gasly.
On a funnier note, Gasly claims that he was in his underwear when Dr. Helmut Marko called him to break the news. “When the call ended, I ran around the house shouting to my mates and they all jumped in the pool straight away!” Top lad, alright.
And on a different note, it's Kimi Raikkonen and the fate of Force India that hold the key to the grand finale of this silly season.