Volunteer writer Ellie Barbieri highlights Pierre Gasly as a future star in Formula 1 that we should all be looking out for.
Formula 1 is undoubtedly one of the most expensive sports worldwide. It has been the podium of many well-known sports legends such as Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna. In recent weeks there has been significant focus on British sports superstar Lewis Hamilton, who is now the most successful driver in the history of the sport. At the recent Portuguese Grand Prix, he took his 92nd career win surpassing the record set by Michael Schumacher. Following on from this at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Hamilton’s team Mercedes had a one-two finish winning them the 2020 constructors’ championship for a record breaking seven years in a row. Up to the most recent race in Turkey where he became the Formula 1 2020 World Champion, equalling yet another of Schumacher’s records.
The question is, do any of the drivers on the current Formula 1 grid have what it takes to challenge Lewis Hamilton’s long line of records? Most people’s obvious answer is the Dutch racing driver Max Verstappen, whose talent has put both Mercedes drivers under significant pressure this year. However, what about further down the grid. Are there any rising stars that have the potential to challenge them both in upcoming years?
Pierre Gasly – History
My answer to that question is none other than Pierre Gasly. The French driver began racing in 2006 where he finished 15th in the French Minime Championship. From this he grew; going on to become the 2016 GP2 series champion. In 2015 he was signed by Formula 1 team, Red Bull Racing, to be part of their reserve team. He then finally made his debut with Formula 1 at the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix with team Scuderia Toro Rosso. From there he has been on quite a journey…
Gasly has not always had it easy in the sport, which has pushed him to become even stronger. In the 2019 season he was contracted to race for Red Bull. However, after struggling to come to grips with the RB 15 and constantly being outperformed by teammate Max Verstappen, he was demoted back to junior team Toro Rosso mid-season and replaced by Alexander Albon. Christian Horner, principle of Red Bull Racing said “Pierre really needs to take some time out during the break, reflect, and take the lessons into the second part of the year. We desperately need him realising more of the potential of the car.”. It’s safe to say that’s exactly what he did. In the remainder of the 2019 season he achieved five-point finishes, including a second-place podium at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. This was not only the first podium of his F1 career but also Toro Rosso’s best finish since 2008. After the team’s name change, the 2020 season has brought great things for the now Scuderia AlphaTauri driver, including his first ever F1 win at Monza, gaining him 25 championship points. This was the win that F1 really needed to see. The diverse podium of AlphaTauri, Mclaren and a Racing Point drivers was a refreshing break from the consistent Mercedes domination on the grid. After this race the word ‘redemption’ echoed throughout the racing community, as this was the day the French driver really proved to Red Bull what he was capable of and what they were missing out on.
There are three races left of the season and Gasly and Albon both have 8 point-finishes this season. Gasly currently has 63 championship points, only 7 points behind Alexander Albon, proving that their driving abilities are very much on-par. Pierre has really matured as a driver and has proven that he does have what it takes to compete with top racers in the sport after. Throughout the season there was a lot of speculation surrounding his future in F1 and if he would potentially race for Red Bull once again. But Red Bull shot down the rumours and decided it was best to keep Gasly at the sister team for the 2021 season due to the new direction they want to take the team in. Yes, at Red Bull he would be in a faster car and have more chances at podiums. But, by staying at AlphaTauri will give him number one status, meaning he will receive first choice when deciding team strategies. Not forgetting he has already proved he doesn’t need Red Bull to win podiums.
A legendary Formula 1 driver not only requires great determination and skill on track but a strong passion outside the physical race. The rollercoaster Gasly went through could have easily put him off the sport but he preserved pride and smiled in the face of adversity. He is now leading his team Scuderia AlphaTauri into a new era at the age of 24. His risk-taking nature on and off track alongside his perpetual optimism is what promises him a lengthy and rewarding career in Formula 1.
“My long-term target is to be the best in the sport and if I want to be the best I will have to fight against the best.” – Pierre Gasly, 2019
Edited by – Lois George (Sports Editor)
Header by – Christos Alamaniotis (Deputy Head of Design)