Is Pierre Ready Again?

We all know the well documented turbulent tale of Pierre Gasly’s season with Red Bull Racing in 2019. Once again, the support driver to Max Verstappen- this time Alexander Albon, is struggling to show that they can match the pace of the lead driver of that team.

And whilst Albon is no doubt a rapid F1 driver, you can already start to see the parallels starting to show between his current situation at Red Bull and the one Pierre found himself in last year. Piling even more pressure on the Thai-British driver, Gasly is having a stellar start to 2020 in a comparably much worse formula one car. 

Once again driving in the sister team to Red Bull, AlphaTauri, Pierre seems to have found a comfort level and rhythm that got him that Red Bull seat to start with and today I am asking, is Pierre ready… again. Let’s have a look at what Pierre has done this season and if he is worth once more of consideration. 

Gasly has started the season with a P7, P15, a retirement, another P7 followed by 11th and then 9th last weekend. Whilst that hardly paints the most amazing portrait for a driver, when you overlay those performances to those of his teammate we can see that he is already leaving teammate Kvyat in his wake. At the time of writing (after just 6 races), Gasly has seven, that’s right SEVEN times more points than his teammate. 

But not only is he getting the maximum performance out of the car ahead of teammate, his Red Bull replacement Alex Albon has finished behind Gasly twice in the opening six races of 2020 and has finished just one place above the Frenchman in two of the six, and with Gasly only completing 5 races the French driver is showing that he has what it takes to push the Red Bull in his AlphaTauri. Granted, Albon has done enough on a Sunday to keep him way up ahead of Pierre in the driver’s standings, but qualifying paints an equally scary picture for Albon as it does highlight Pierre’s form. He has out-qualified the undoubtedly faster Red Bull in 50% of the races so far this season whilst also massively outperforming his teammate too… 

Pierre has zero Q1 exits compared to Daniils’ two. Two Q2 Exits compared to Daniil’s four,

and has made it to Q3 four times compared to absolutely zilch from Kvyat. In fact, Pierre has the exact same made/missed qualifying session record as Alex Albon: Two Q2 exits,  and four entries into Q3. 

There is no doubt that Alex has been hit with some unforeseen circumstances this season (including Lewis Hamilton’s car), and Albon has shown that he is capable of picking up solid points- finishing in pretty much similar positions to where he was placing that Red Bull last year, but with one driver outperforming their car and smashing their teammate, compared to a Red Bull driver not pushing rivals the same way his teammate is – should Pierre get another shot at the Red Bull Seat?

On any other given season and forgetting what happened in 2019, it would make sense to give Gasly a shot. There is no way Red Bull will win the constructors and unfortunately, in my opinion, no way that Max will catch Lewis, so it would be worth the gamble to give an overchabiebing driver from a sister team a shot at the big time… 

But, you can’t forget the past. I don’t see Red Bull wanting to bring Pierre back into the fold and you can tell by the way that the team talks about Albon’s struggles compared to Pierre’s, that they seem much happier with Alex in that seat. 

This is not a disaster for the young French driver though. After his dismissal from the team last year, many felt a future in F1 lay outside of the Red Bull programme and his performances so far in 2020 have proven to everyone in the paddock just what talent and racecraft he can deliver. With fewer and fewer seats available for 2021 it makes sense to me that he will lead the AlphaTauri team in 2021 (likely alongside someone who is not Daniil Kvyat) with some teams may be willing to take a punt on him on 2022. 

What do you think – does Pierre deserve another shot at the Red Bull seat or does his future lie elsewhere? Has Albon done enough to prove himself as the #2 Red Bull Man? Let me know in the comments below! 

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