8 things you should know about Pierre Gasly
© Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Now, after an impressive debut season driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso, he's been named as Red Bull Racing’s latest Formula One driver for the 2019 season, replacing Daniel Ricciardo in the hot seat.
Here's everything you need to know about the determined young French driver, who's rarely put a foot wrong in his short career so far.
1. He started out young
Gasly left his home in Rouen at the age of 13 to pursue his dream. A keen footballer and PSG fan too, his first taste of racing came in karting when he joined the French Minime Championship in 2006.
He moved up to the international scene in 2009 and worked his way through one series after another until he was eventually invited onto the Red Bull programme after winning the Formula Renault Eurocup title in 2013.
2. He's had his setbacks…
Gasly won the last ever GP2 title in 2016, clawing back the points he needed at the final round of the old F1 feeder series at Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi.
His title-winning performances should've seen him step up to Toro Rosso, but Daniil Kvyat’s improved form saw him retain his seat for a little while longer.
“It was a mixture of being angry, disappointed and sad,” Gasly said after being told he'd missed out. The determined young Frenchman went to Japan to race in the Super Formula series instead.
3. He's proven he can bounce back from them
Gasly finally got his chance. At the tail end of the 2017 season, Gasly replaced an out-of-form Kvyat at the Malaysian Grand Prix and finished a creditable 14th.
With Carlos Sainz Jr. moving on and Kyvat dropped permanently, Gasly took the Toro Rosso drive alongside drafted-in WEC driver Brendon Hartley for four of the final five races of the season. He was rewarded just before the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a permanent spot in 2017.
4. He’s following in the footsteps of the greats
When he won GP2, Gasly etched his name onto the trophy alongside Nico Rosberg, Nico Hulkenberg and Lewis Hamilton. And when he took fourth place at this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, it wasn’t just a landmark moment for Gasly. It also made him one of Toro Rosso’s highest finishers, up there with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Sainz Jr. He's since followed that up by claiming seventh place in Monaco and sixth place in Hungary.
5. He’s done it all his own way, too
Gasly doesn’t come from a wealthy family and has had to work hard at every stage of his career. In one interview, he revealed how hard it's been.
"I didn't have any manager, so I was in a way alone, fighting against all the big sharks in this paddock and trying to make my place… I'm really happy I managed to do it without any manager and without paying for my seat. Because now it's pretty tough to make it. It is also good for the young drivers to see it is still possible, you can make it. It is not all about money."
6. He's not averse to taking a gamble
Because of his humble background, Gasly claims he's always been very cautious with money. But he enjoys playing the occasional high-stakes game of roulette.
“It gives me an excitement that I don’t find in anything else other than driving a race car,” he’s said. But he's also very clear to tell the world that he's far more interested in collecting trophies than casino chips. Phew.
7. He’s not afraid to speak his mind
Gasly was penalised for colliding with Force India’s Sergio Perez at the 2018 British Grand Prix. The two drivers were battling it out for the final race points when Gasly bumped Perez and a post-race investigation saw him moved down to 13th place. Gasly’s reaction was fierce.
“Five second penalty, ridiculous! Every weekend there are contacts with no further action, that's part of racing and what makes it exciting! Was close battle, I enjoyed it. Just let us race and stop all this bulls*** with penalties! Will keep fighting."
8. He’s experienced it all in his debut F1 season
As well as terrific results for an F1 debutant, Gasly has also had to learn about the pitfalls of poor communication while navigating the super competitive circuits of F1.
The Frenchman collided with his Toro Rosso team-mate Brendon Hartley at the Chinese Grand Prix earlier this year, spraying debris across the track and earning himself a 10-second penalty. However, Gasly showed real maturity by taking the smash in his stride.
“I think we misunderstood each other, I expected him to do one thing and he probably expected something else.”