Red Bull drop Pierre Gasly and promote Alex Albon
Gasly demoted back to Toro Rosso after half a season; Rookie Albon becomes Verstappen's new team-mate
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 12/08/19 7:37pm
Red Bull have dropped Pierre Gasly and appointed Alex Albon as Max Verstappen's new team-mate.
The change will take place with immediate effect, starting at the Belgian Grand Prix when the F1 season resumes on August 29.
Gasly was appointed Verstappen's team-mate at the start of the season following Daniel Ricciardo's departure to Renault.
But the highly-regarded youngster has struggled to keep pace with Verstappen, and his demotion, while ruthless, had been widely predicted.
Gasly will return to Toro Rosso and partner Daniil Kvyat.
Rookie Albon only began his F1 career in March.
In a statement, Red Bull said: 'The team will use the next nine races to evaluate Alex's performance in order to make an informed decision as to who will drive alongside Max in 2020.'
The London-born Thai driver has consistently impressed this season, although it is Kvyat, himself a former Red Bull driver, who has scored the majority of Toro Rosso's points to date.
Commiserations to Pierre, but he rides again and is still in the game. Good luck to Alex, he’s arrived in F1 in great style, but will need every tool and trick in the F1 drivers’ repertoire to survive in Max’s lair. With the star maker/grim reaper forensically observing his data. https://t.co/lTwHW3xCwm— Martin Brundle (@MBrundleF1) August 12, 2019
Why time ran out for Gasly
Gasly's form and future had become a frequent topic of conversation and speculation through the summer.
Although Christian Horner told reporters after the Hungarian GP "our intention is to leave him in the car until the end of the year", the Red Bull boss added that "we desperately need to see him realising more of the potential of the car."
Gasly's struggles were particularly acute in Budapest. While Verstappen challenged from victory after taking pole position, Gasly only qualified sixth, 0.8s adrift of Verstappen, and then finished behind McLaren's Carlos Sainz in the race.
Gasly's half-season haul of 63 points compares to 181 for Verstappen and was a substantial handicap in Red Bull's battle with Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship.
I do feel for Gasly but F1 is a tough business & Helmut is a tough boss (he called me an old man when I was a 23 year old RB junior!)... Great opportunity for @alex_albon - driven very well so far with standout performances in China & Germany. Big challenge going up against Max!— Karun Chandhok (@karunchandhok) August 12, 2019
Full statement from Red Bull
"Aston Martin Red Bull Racing will race with a new driver line-up from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards.
"Alexander Albon is being promoted to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing to drive alongside Max Verstappen, while Pierre Gasly will return to the Red Bull sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso.
"Red Bull are in the unique position of having four talented Formula One drivers under contract who can be rotated between Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso. The team will use the next nine races to evaluate Alex's performance in order to make an informed decision as to who will drive alongside Max in 2020.
"Everyone at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing looks forward to welcoming Alex to the team and supporting him during the next phase of his F1 career."