Red Bull has announced that Pierre Gasly will be replaced by Alexander Albon from the Belgian Grand Prix. The Frenchman joined the senior Red Bull team as a replacement for Daniel Ricciardo for 2019, having impressed in his first full season in F1 with Toro Rosso last year.
However, the Frenchman has struggled against the rising mega star of Max Verstappen. The questions about his future aren’t new as his replacement the British-Thai Albon has impressed with his debut season, outperforming his teammate Daniil Kvyat.
In a statement, Red Bull said: ‘The team will use the next nine races to evaluate Alex’s performance in order to make an informed decision as to who will drive alongside Max in 2020.’
The London-born Thai driver has consistently impressed this season, although it is Kvyat, himself a former Red Bull driver, who has scored the majority of Toro Rosso’s points to date.
Gasly’s future has been under speculation throughout the past few months, but team principal Christian Horner said in Budapest, Although Christian Horner told reporters after the Hungarian GP “our intention is to leave him in the car until the end of the year”, the Red Bull boss added that “we desperately need to see him realising more of the potential of the car.”
Gasly’s struggles were particularly acute in Budapest. While Verstappen challenged from victory after taking pole position, Gasly only qualified sixth, 0.8s adrift of Verstappen, and then finished behind McLaren’s Carlos Sainz in the race.
The team will use the remaining nine races to look at who will partner lead driver Verstappen. Gasly will return to junior team Toro Rosso alongside Daniil Kvyat.
The Russian himself relegated from Red Bull to Toro Rosso mid-season three years ago to make way for Verstappen, scored Toro Rosso’s first podium since Monza 2008, in the mixed-weather German Grand Prix last month. He has twenty-seven points to rookie Albon’s sixteen.