Formula 1
Formula 1
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
44 days
R
Portuguese GP
02 May
Race in
58 days
09 May
Next event in
61 days
23 May
Race in
79 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
93 days
13 Jun
Race in
100 days
27 Jun
Race in
114 days
04 Jul
Next event in
117 days
18 Jul
Race in
135 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
149 days
29 Aug
Race in
177 days
05 Sep
Race in
184 days
12 Sep
Race in
191 days
26 Sep
Race in
205 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
208 days
10 Oct
Race in
218 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
233 days
31 Oct
Race in
240 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
260 days
R
Saudi Arabia GP
05 Dec
Race in
275 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
282 days
Top 20 Stories of 2019
Topic

Top 20 Stories of 2019

Top Stories of 2019, #13: Gasly loses Red Bull seat to Albon

Motorsport.com's countdown of the biggest stories in racing continues with Red Bull's sudden demotion of Pierre Gasly after just a dozen races with the team - and promotion of Alex Albon.

Top Stories of 2019, #13: Gasly loses Red Bull seat to Albon

Being Max Verstappen's teammate at Red Bull was always going to be the toughest job on the grid. Having to partner the Dutchman unexpectedly after just one full season did nothing to alleviate the challenge for Pierre Gasly, who was promoted to a Red Bull drive after Daniel Ricciardo decided to move to Renault against all expectations.

Even Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitted Gasly's promotion had come earlier than he would have liked, but such are the workings of the energy drinks company's junior scheme that it was left with no choice but to pick the Frenchman who, to his credit, had managed some remarkable results - namely fourth place in Bahrain - in the 2018 Toro Rosso.

Gasly's year did not start as poorly as his Q1 exit in Australia suggested, as Red Bull's strategy was mainly to blame for his failure to make the cut, and the Frenchman only about a tenth slower than Verstappen. But while the Dutch driver scored his first podium of the season, Gasly wound up 11th a full lap down after getting stuck behind a slower car, a problem that would be seen as one of Gasly's main weaknesses in future races.

In Bahrain, the scene of his star drive the previous year, things got slightly better and Gasly managed to score points with an eighth-place finish, but he was still over 50 seconds behind his teammate. A sixth in China, again miles away from Verstappen, followed, before a retirement with a mechanical problem in Azerbaijan, a race after which Horner declared Gasly was "coming out" of his early-season slump.

Horner's comments and another sixth in Spain and a fifth in Monaco didn't do much to silence the persistent rumours about Gasly's future at Red Bull, especially after less promising showings in Canada and France. Then came the Austrian GP, a race where Verstappen scored his and Red Bull-Honda's first victory as Gasly suffered the ignominy of being lapped by his teammate.

Following that performance, Horner said Gasly needed a "Ctrl+Alt+Del" reset, as the increasing pressure to deliver took a more public turn. That appeared to happen when he put on his best drive of the season so far in Britain, where he wound up a strong fourth ahead of Verstappen, hailing his weekend as a "massive step" in the right direction after deciding to move his set-ups closer to what his teammate was using.

The joy didn't last long, however, as Gasly crashed out of the German GP as Verstappen went on to take a superb second win. After that race, Red Bull's Helmut Marko promised Gasly would see out the season: "This year we won't change. We will end the season as we currently are".

But that was followed by a very poor showing in Hungary, Gasly qualifying nearly a second off Verstappen's pace and finishing a lap behind him in the race, a result which led to Horner claiming that the French driver's results were starting to hurt Red Bull, which was clearly out of patience: just 12 days after Marko had said the line-up wouldn't change, the team announced it was replacing Gasly with Alex Albon, sending the Frenchman back to Toro Rosso from the Belgian GP.

Gasly admitted he was in "shock" at the news, especially following all the assurances he had been given by Red Bull's bosses.

"The team said I was going to drive until the end of the year, and that's what I believed," he said at the time of losing his drive to Albon, who was 12 races into his grand prix career.

The rest, as they say, is history. To many, Albon justified the decision with his performances in the remaining races, scoring more points in nine GPs than Gasly in 12 and faring better when compared to Verstappen, eventually securing his place at Red Bull for 2020 alongside the Dutch driver.

Yet Gasly, back in an environment with reduced pressure, delivered strongly until the end of the year, which culminated with a sensational drive to second place in Brazil to just beat Albon to seventh in the standings. A small victory given his demotion, but one that highlighted why Gasly was put in the Red Bull seat in the first place.

Click here to see the list of Top 20 stories so far.

Alexander Albon, Red Bull RB15

Alexander Albon, Red Bull RB15

Photo by: Andrew Hone / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
Mercedes looks to the future with its young engineers

Previous article

Mercedes looks to the future with its young engineers

Next article

Formula 1 reveals 2019 spectator figures

Formula 1 reveals 2019 spectator figures
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Pierre Gasly , Alex Albon
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Pablo Elizalde
How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare Prime

How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare

The 2020 Formula 1 season was Ferrari's worst for 40 years as it slumped to sixth in the standings. A repeat performance will not be acceptable for the proud Italian team, which has adopted a notably pragmatic approach to forging its path back to the top

Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery Prime

Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery

In the most eagerly anticipated Formula 1 team launch of the season, the rebranded Aston Martin squad’s changes go much further than the striking paint job. But rather than a restart, the team hopes to build on top of solid foundations.

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with Prime

The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with

The team formerly known as Racing Point gambled successfully on a Mercedes look-alike in 2020 as it mounted a strong challenge for third in the constructors' race and won the Sakhir GP. Now clothed in British racing green, Aston Martin's first Formula 1 challenger since 1960 provides the clearest indicator yet of what to expect from the new-for-2021 regulations

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The tricky driver conundrums facing Mercedes in F1 2021 Prime

The tricky driver conundrums facing Mercedes in F1 2021

Ahead of the new Formula 1 season, reigning world champions Mercedes will take on challenges both old and new. This also can be said for its driver conundrum which could become key to sustaining its ongoing success...

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front Prime

How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front

A new name, new faces and new colours pulls the rebranded Alpine Formula 1 team into a new era while carrying over core elements of its 2020 car. But under the surface there's more than meets the eye with the A521 which hints at how the team will tackle 2021...

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown? Prime

Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown?

Replacing Formula 1's fastest car was never going to be an easy feat for Mercedes. Amid the technical rule tweaks to peg back the W12 and its 2021 rivals, the new Mercedes challenger will remain the target to beat

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era Prime

The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era

Ferrari is starting its post-Sebastian Vettel age by welcoming Carlos Sainz in alongside Charles Leclerc. But while Sainz has a tough challenge to match his new teammate, Ferrari is also sending a message that previous intra-team spats must end

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
The mantra Ocon must follow to challenge Alonso at Alpine Prime

The mantra Ocon must follow to challenge Alonso at Alpine

OPINION: It's been an uneasy ride for Esteban Ocon since his F1 comeback - and fresh challenges lie in wait as he's joined by double world champion Fernando Alonso in the newly rebranded Alpine team. STUART CODLING sets out a roadmap to success…

Formula 1
Mar 1, 2021