By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Scuderia Toro Rosso has revealed that Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly will replace Daniil Kvyat for “the next Grand Prix,” starting this weekend in Malaysia.
The 2016 Formula 2 (previously known as GP2) champion, Gasly has been competing this year in Japan in Super Formula – a path similar to McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, winner of the 2015 F2 title.
The number of races remaining this season that the 21-year-old Frenchman will compete in isn’t confirmed, with the one certainty that he will not compete in the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas due to a clash with his F2 commitments.
“I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get this chance in my motor racing career and specifically, Red Bull, Dr. Helmut Marko and Scuderia Toro Rosso…this is a great opportunity for me,” said Gasly.
“I feel as ready as I can be, having had to be prepared for anything in my role as Red Bull Racing’s third driver this year. I will do my best to perform well with Scuderia Toro Rosso during these coming races.”
Ironically, Gasly will make his Formula One debut alongside Carlos Sainz, who is in the twilight of his days with the Faenza, Itlaly-based squad after being confirmed at Renault for 2018, with the former linked as his replacement.
“Scuderia Toro Rosso was established by Red Bull to bring youngsters from its Junior Program into Formula 1 and that’s what we are doing by giving Pierre this chance,” said Franz Tost, team principal at Scuderia Toro Rosso.
“He is the next in line at Red Bull for this opportunity and he has shown that he deserves it, having taken the 2016 GP2 title and this year being very competitive in the Super Formula series in Japan. He really has a valid chance of winning the title, as he is only half a point behind the leader. The driver switch gives us an opportunity to make a more informed decision regarding our 2018 driver choices.
“For a variety of reasons, some of them due to technical problems, but others being mistakes of his own making, Daniil Kvyat has not really shown his true potential so far this year, which is why we are standing him down for the next races. This will give us the opportunity to evaluate Pierre on track during a proper race weekend.”