Red Bull 'need' Pierre Gasly to improve but no plans to axe driver
Horner urges Gasly to "get it together" in second half of the season; "We shouldn't be racing Saubers and McLarens," says Red Bull boss
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 06/08/19 12:44pm
Red Bull admit they "desperately" need Pierre Gasly's form to improve in the second half of F1 2019 - but insist they have no plans to replace the under-pressure Frenchman during the season.
Gasly has struggled in his first year at Red Bull next to Max Verstappen and at the Hungarian GP he only qualified sixth, 0.8s behind his pole-sitting team-mate, and then finished behind McLaren's Carlos Sainz in the race.
It was the latest setback for Gasly, who has a best finish of fourth this season and has only scored 63 points compared to Verstappen's 181 - which is badly affecting Red Bull in their constructors' fight with Ferrari.
"I think he really needs to take some time out during the summer break, reflect on the first half of the season and take the lessons from that into the second half of the year," Red Bull boss Christian Horner told reporters in Hungary.
"It's vital for us if we are to stand any chance of catching Ferrari that we have him finishing further ahead."
Verstappen vs Gasly: The F1 2019 stats
|Best race finish||1st (x2)||4th (x1)|
Gasly's poor form had prompted rumours of Red Bull of looking for a mid-season alternative, just as they did in 2016 when Daniil Kvyat was replaced by Verstappen.
But Horner added: "Our intention is to leave him the car until the end of the year. But we desperately need to see him realising more of the potential of the car."
Gasly's future beyond F1 2019, however, is in doubt.
"He's got the second half of the year to really get it together because then they'll be a lot of pressure on what we do for next year," the Red Bull team principal told Sky Sports F1.
"But we're not looking at replacing him or switching drivers around, it's really in his court now to get it together and build on some of the promise we have seen flashes of. He just needs to put it together more consistently.
"All we can do is provide him with the best car we can and provide him with the best support we can and try to work with him to eliminate some of the mistakes."
Gasly 'not in the mix'
Horner described Gasly's weekend in Hungary as "frustrating" - the 23-year-old was well off the pace in qualifying and then lost positions off the start, and then had to endure a race battling the midfield.
That left Verstappen single-handedly fighting his rivals, as he has often done this year.
"The start wasn't great, the first lap wasn't great, and we shouldn't be racing Saubers [Alfa Romeos] and McLarens, we need him to be racing Ferraris and Mercedes," said Horner of Gasly's day.
"The problem is [Gasly] is not in the mix at all."
Red Bull are 44 points behind Ferrari in the constructors' standings.
"Obviously not having two cars running at the front does hurt us," continued Horner.
"Particularly in the constructors' championship where we scored the same amount of points as Ferrari today on a track where we should have taken more out of them."
Lewis Hamilton cheekily suggested Fernando Alonso as a possible replacement for Gasly in F1 2019, telling Verstappen in the press conference: "You're the one with the extra seat."