Pierre Gasly’s strong form in Formula 1 has been triggered by the “relief” of escaping the intense pressure during his time at Red Bull, reckons his former boss Christian Horner.
Gasly scored the first podium finish of his F1 career with second place behind Max Verstappen in the Brazilian Grand Prix, Toro Rosso’s third podium in F1.
The podium comes during a season where he was dropped by Red Bull over the summer break and moved to Toro Rosso, replaced by F1 rookie Alex Albon.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says Gasly’s approach after being moved, and the way he felt liberated when some of the pressure on him fell away.
“I think the way he embraced the change, he had two choices,” said Horner, when asked by Autosport about the reasons for Gasly’s turnaround with Toro Rosso.
“He could either have got depressed about it, or be grateful for the fact that he was still involved in Formula 1 and that Red Bull still believed in him.
“I think he embraced it rather than got dejected by it.
“And I think there was almost a slight relief as well because obviously the pressure only mounts [in F1], and he came into the season after two crashes [in testing].
“Then, there were some really tough races for him and you guys [the media] don’t cut much slack either.
“So the pressure only builds, and I think it was the right thing to remove him from that pressure.
“It’s been good to see him really find his confidence at Toro Rosso.”
Although Red Bull felt that Gasly needed to be moved away from the main team, Horner has not ruled out him being picked again in the future if he continues to show good form.
“If we didn’t believe he was a candidate for us we would have released him from the contract,” said Horner.
“But obviously we still believe in his talents and that’s why we retained him within the group.”