With Max Verstappen dragging Red Bull into the title fight, the Austrian team needed all hands on deck. However, Pierre Gasly has struggled to keep up all season and Red Bull ran out of patience. So, advisor Dr Helmut Marko admitted that the team “had to react” to Gasly’s poor performances this year.
So, on Monday, Red Bull announced that Alex Albon was replacing Gasly in the senior squad. Meanwhile, Pierre Gasly returns to his 2018 stomping grounds at Toro Rosso in order to revitalise himself.
The Frenchman’s plight was so that that he often found himself stuck in midfield battles. Further twisting the knife was former teammate Max Verstappen regularly fighting for podiums and race wins.
From the Belgian Grand Prix onwards, Verstappen will be racing alongside Albon, who only has 12 F1 starts under his belt.
“Gasly has problems in traffic, he loses places and he can’t overtake,” Marko revealed to Auto Bild. “So we had to react and give Albon a chance until the end of the season. Gasly takes his place at Toro Rosso and then we see who will be driving next year next to Max.”
The 2019 campaign also marks Red Bull’s first with Honda. The partnership has so far been successful, with Max Verstappen taking two wins and three further podiums.
Marko admits that Red Bull underestimated the Japanese manufacturer prior to the start of the season, and believes the Milton Keynes squad can be competitive at any circuit in the second half of the season.
“We built a car with too little downforce,” Marko admitted. “We underestimated the progression of our new engine partner Honda.
“They delivered more power than we thought. That’s why we first wanted to compensate for the missing power with a chassis that is very aerodynamically efficient, but we corrected that.
“In the last races, we were almost equal to Mercedes. We definitely caught up with Ferrari. I think we’ll be competitive on any kind of track in the second half of the season.”