Pierre Gasly: “Either you Win or you Learn”
© Red Bull
The word “failure” is not in Pierre Gasley’s vocab. In an exclusive interview with #ABtalks, the Formula One pro details just what it takes to make it the top motorsports championship in the world.
No-one becomes a champion overnight. Granted, you could wake up one day and find yourself taking the podium or top prize in your favourite sport, for instance – but by no means was it a fluke or just down to really good luck. And that’s simply because it takes years and years of hard work, commitment, and dedication towards achieving a dream goal.
For Pierre Gasly, that goal was to make it as a Formula One driver. Sure enough, his dream materialised on 26 September 2017 when he made his debut for Toro Rosso (now Scuderia AlphaTauri) at the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix.
“I started motorsport – karting – when I was six years old. And of course, as a kid I dreamt about Formula One. Watching Michael Schumacher winning races… I had to push my parents to get me into karting, because I have four brothers and three [already] raced. So it cost a lot of money,” he tells Anas Bukhash in an exclusive interview for #ABTalks.
Instead, Pierre’s folks tried to convince him to get into football.
“I played football and I loved it, but I really wanted to compete in karting. So at 9 years old, I asked them ‘What do I need to do to be a Formula One driver?’ They offered me my first kart at 8, and I started competition at 9. From that moment I [decided] that I needed to commit 100%.”
Pierre, 24, sat down with Emirati host Anas during his recent time in lockdown in Dubai. The French athlete, who had flown into the emirate ahead of his team’s scheduled flight to Manama for the now-postponed 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, found himself without many options but to stay put and continue to focus on training. And while the majority of us were stuck at home trying our best not to pile on the pounds, Pierre continued to train six times a week.
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This is just a small glimpse into the driver’s character. His whole childhood revolved around the sport after he gave up football and joined a driving school at age 13.
“I'm super competitive in everything I do. And it was like this from a really young age,” he tells Anas. “[I thought] either I commit 100% to this sport, and try all my chances to get to Formula One, or there’s no point. I didn’t think twice.”
So does he feel like he missed out on his teenage years?
“My friends had some lifestyles that I could not have at the time, because if you’re an athlete, you can’t go partying every single weekend… you can't eat fast food every month, so you need to be quite strict,” he explains. “But at the same time, [my friends did not see] all the stuff that I've seen in my life. At 13 years old, I would travel the world to race, and see different countries and cultures, and meet people from all over the world.
“Racing for me gives me so much more pleasure and joy than any other thing, so I would not change [it] for anything, because I don't feel like I missed out. You just need to understand when the right time is [to be more relaxed],” he continues. “Our season starts from February until December, and during that period you need to be super strict. Of course, during ‘off’ time, you can enjoy it a bit more. It's not like you can go crazy, but you can still enjoy it.”
INTRODUCING SCUDERIA ALPHATAURI
Also during the chat, Pierre – who describes himself as a “positive, optimistic person in general” – details his journey to Formula One, including his recent transfer from Red Bull Racing to Scuderia AlphaTauri.
Fans will finally get the chance to see Gasly and his team mate Daniil Kvyat race for Scuderia AlphaTauri when the team named and designed Red Bull's premium fashion brand - AlphaTauri - get the Formula One season underway at the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg on Sunday.
The athlete also touches upon some sad times he has encountered, including the loss of childhood friends and fellow French drivers Anthoine Hubert and Jules Bianchi who both tragically lost their lives due to crashes while competing. On his 2020 season driver’s helmet, Pierre has inscriptions of ‘AH’ on one side, and ‘JB17’ on the other.
“EITHER YOU WIN OR YOU LEARN”
Looking ahead, Pierre is ready to return to the track once lockdown conditions are lifted, and shares some concluding words of wisdom with Anas.
Disclosing that he has a plaque in his driver’s room that says: “Either you win or you learn”, Pierre believes in the importance of challenging yourself and learning from failure.
“Even from a younger age, you get stronger from the mistakes that you do,” he says. “I think you need to go through failures; you need to go through mistakes, because these things will make you stronger and will make you learn faster.
“And I do believe that if you're just at the top the whole time – and never struggle, [or] never have any challenges – at some point you're not going to reach your maximum potential.”
Thirsty for more inspiring chats? Watch the rest of our episodes of #ABtalks x Red Bull below: