Marko: Gasly "would've never recovered" staying at Red Bull
Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko believes Pierre Gasly would not have recovered from dip in Formula 1 form had he not returned to Toro Rosso from Red Bull.
Gasly spent the first half of the 2019 season with RBR, logging a best finish of fourth at Silverstone, before being replaced by Alex Albon after the summer break.
Marko says that the Frenchman, who took a sensational second place in Brazil, has got his career back on track after his demotion.
“He’s recovered, and now we see the real Pierre,” Marko told Motorsport.com. “We always believed in him. It was positive for him, otherwise at Red Bull Racing I think he never would have recovered.”
Marko was encouraged by the form of all his drivers in Brazil: “Max [Verstappen] was perfect, his overtaking manoeuvres were unbelievable. And Albon also did very well before he was pushed off. So it shows our programme is working. We’re very excited about next year.”
Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost acknowledged that it was difficult for Gasly to take a step back to the junior team in the middle of the year.
“It was not so easy for him this season, but he came back,” said Tost. “I think Pierre from the very beginning onwards felt quite well in the car, and in the team of course.
“I remember he came back he came to my office and said, ‘It looked like you were here yesterday.’
"We knew each other, the engineers knew him, and this helped. And our car at this point was easy to drive.”
Tost also praised Gasly for the intelligent way he tackled the Brazilian GP, in the face of early pressure from Alfa’s Kimi Raikkonen.
“I must say he drove a fantastic race,” said Tost. “Regarding the tyre management, he really looked for the car, especially in the corners under acceleration, not to overheat the tyres.
“He always had the speed under control. When Kimi was pushing him, he just reacted on the next lap with one or two tenths faster, and Kimi recognised that he was too fast, and the gap opened to 3.4s, 3.6s, 4.0s, 5.0s, which gave him enough space to control everything."
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