Red Bull – Gasly needs to press control-alt-delete in his head

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has vowed to support Pierre Gasly despite the French driver’s poor start to the season.

Gasly has scored just 43 points to teammate Max Verstappen’s 126 in the first nine rounds of 2019 and has yet to finish a race higher than fifth with Red Bull. The Austrian Grand Prix saw him hit his lowest point yet as he was lapped by teammate Verstappen despite being ahead of him on the opening lap of the race.

“Pierre is having a tough time at the moment, we’re doing our best to support him, I think he just needs a reset,” Horner said. “I think we have got to somehow press control-alt-delete in his head and start again.

“He is a quick driver. The problem he has got is that Max is delivering every week, and that puts more pressure on him to perform, but we’re sticking by him. We still believe in him and we’ll give him all the support we can to try and nurture the talent we know he has.”

Red Bull has a history of ditching underperforming drivers, but currently has no obvious replacement for Gasly in its ranks. Alex Albon at Toro Rosso is a rookie and would likely face similar issues getting up to speed, while Daniil Kvyat returned to F1 this season after being dropped by Red Bull’s driver programme at the end of 2017.

Neither are guaranteed to do a better job and Horner says Red Bull will continue to support Gasly.

“There is no intention to change Pierre,” he said. “He’s our driver, we’re going to work with him, we will try to get the best out of him. He’s having a tough time at the moment but we will do our best to support him through it.

Gasly was promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull this season to replace Daniel Ricciardo, who surprised Horner by signing for Renault. Gasly came to the team with a strong pedigree after winning GP2 in 2016, finishing runner-up in Japanese Super Formula in 2017 and scoring 29 points for Toro Rosso in F1 last year.

Speaking ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, Gasly said he was struggling to adapt to this year’s Red Bull.

“At the moment it’s a bit inconsistent, some sessions we are fast, others not,” he said. “So it’s just finding the consistency and consistent base and that’s the main thing. “Sometimes we are fast but we need to be as consistent as the other car. It’s for different reasons. It’s really important to find what works and build from that base. But at the moment we are struggling to find it.

“For sure I had to change my approach quite a bit [to adapt to the car] and what I would like to do. But then at the same time the team is trying to find more ways to come a bit more towards my natural driving style. It’s a bit both but for sure I had to change and I still have things which I can do to suit that car a bit more and that’s what I’m focused on.”

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