Remember when... Pierre Gasly couldn't win a motor race
As part of a daily series in the run-up to the start of pre-season, Motorsport Week brings you brief left-field reflections and stories of teams, drivers and reserve/test drivers that will be part of the Formula 1 paddock in 2019.
Red Bull’s new charger will surely be eyeing a maiden Formula 1 victory in 2019 but there was a period in his junior career when Pierre Gasly could not get atop the podium.
Gasly’s success in Formula Renault 2.0 brought him to Red Bull’s attention at the end of 2013 and during a meeting in Abu Dhabi he convinced Helmut Marko to sign him up, with any family money – and the goodwill of sponsors – not enough for the next step.
Marko took the chance and Gasly was placed in Formula Renault 3.5, where he took eight podiums and finished runner-up to Carlos Sainz Jr., but no win was forthcoming.
The next step was the GP2 Series with powerhouse DAMS but while he took three pole positions and four podiums in 2015, a win remained elusive. A driveshaft failure denied him while in a strong spot in Italy, and excessive tyre wear was a negative trait through the campaign.
A switch to Prema yielded more podiums early in 2016 but still a win remained out of reach. It looked likely in Austria as he cruised into the lead – only to spin off in slippery conditions. The drought had lasted over 1,000 days, with 16 podiums (10 second places and six third places) and five pole positions earned in that period. But it was to finally end. Gasly dominated in Britain to bring his near three-year win drought to a close, mere days after a serious road car accident that resulted in an injury to his back and hospitalised his mother.
Gasly took three more wins in GP2 and sealed the crown, before bagging another two victories in Super Formula the following campaign, with his F1 debut coming late in 2017…