For the next few weeks, as we await the return of racing, Motorsport Week is delving into the archives to search out the first time that our grid of 2020 F1 racers stepped into top-level machinery in a public forum.
Pierre Gasly’s career was at a crossroads in 2013 and victory in the Formula Renault 2.0 championship netted him the Red Bull support that ensured he could continue racing.
Just 18 months later, and after finishing runner-up in the Formula Renault 3.5 series, Gasly got his first taste of Formula 1 machinery.
Formula 1 stayed on at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after the 2015 Spanish Grand Prix for the rookie tests and with erstwhile juniors Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. now ineligible Red Bull handed track time to GP2 rookie Gasly.
Gasly completed 131 laps in Toro Rosso’s STR10 on Tuesday before climbing into the Red Bull’s RB11 on Wednesday, adding another 75 laps to the tally.
Gasly carried out multiple test sessions across the next two-and-a-half seasons for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso, alongside his GP2 title and a stint in Super Formula.
He eventually made his Formula 1 race debut for Toro Rosso at the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix, when Red Bull’s patience wore thin with Daniil Kvyat – alongside whom he now drives at AlphaTauri.