Red Bull has announced that Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly will join the team for the next year. The relative newbie driver entered the F1 scene in 2017 for the Malaysian GP from a background in the Red Bull junior programme, with success in GP2. Gasly is seen to be taking the spot of Daniel Ricciardo who had announced his surprise move from the Red Bull team.
Gasly said “To be awarded a drive at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing from 2019 is a dream come true for me, I’m so excited to be joining this top team. It has been my goal to race for this team since I joined the Red Bull Junior Driver Programme in 2013, and this incredible opportunity is another step forward in my ambition to win Grands Prix and compete for World Championships. Red Bull has always looked to fight for championships or victories and that’s what I want. I’m a really competitive guy and when I do something it’s always to fight for the best and top positions.”
On the other hand Ricciardo’s move to Renault has upset the apple cart there and led to the signing of Carlos Sainz Jr by McLaren. Sainz has signed a multi-year deal and comes with both a heritage and some useful racing credentials from his Renault stints. He said “I’ve been a McLaren fan for as long as I can remember. It’s a great name in the sport with an incredible heritage, and the list of drivers that have raced for McLaren over the years are among the heroes of Formula 1. Fernando is of course one of them, so it’s particularly special that I’ll be taking his seat as part of the next generation of Spanish racing drivers behind the wheel of a McLaren.”
Sainz will of course replace Fernando Alonso whose surprise announcement of leaving McLaren triggered this round of moves.
The two-time world champion, who famously beat Michael Schumacher to the drivers’ world championship in 2005 and 2006, will leave McLaren at the end of the year after his contract expires. Alonso has turned down an extension offer from the Woking-based team leaving the door open for a replacement.
The 37-year-old whose F1 career spanned over 17 years is widely expected to follow the footsteps of other ex-F1 drivers like Juan Pablo Montoya who switched over to Nascar. Alonso is said to be considering a full-time job in IndyCar Series with the hope of winning the Indianapolis 500 to complete motor racing’s Triple Crown, having won the Le Mans 24 Hours in June this year and the Monaco Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007.
During the announcement, Alonso said: “After 17 wonderful years in this amazing sport, it’s time for me to make a change and move on. I have enjoyed every single minute of those incredible seasons and I cannot thank enough the people who have contributed to make them all so special.
“There are still several grands prix to go this season, and I will take part in them with more commitment and passion than ever.”
The Spaniard said that his decision was made earlier in the season, with McLaren once again struggling for results despite their switch from Honda to Renault engines at the start of the year.