OCTOBER 27, 2016
Gasly to be reserve driver in 2017 says Marko
Pierre Gasly will remain a part of Red Bull's F1 programme in 2017.
That is the news from Dr Helmut Marko, who is in charge of the energy drink company's high profile and hard-hitting driver development programme.
Earlier, amid Daniil Kvyat's struggles, GP2 frontrunner Gasly looked a shoo-in for a Toro Rosso seat for 2017.
But Russian Kvyat has been retained, and Frenchman Gasly did not hesitate to express his disappointment.
"Now we must continue to look ahead and explore other options, but I will prove to them that they made the wrong decision," he said.
It is believed Marko acted to cement Kvyat at Toro Rosso for 2017 amid reported interest from Force India -- to the detriment of Gasly's chances.
"Unfortunately, we couldn't wait for the GP2 season," the Austrian told the French broadcaster Canal Plus.
"But Pierre will be reserve driver for Red Bull and continue to work in the simulator. We will select the championship that he does next season but the choice depends on the result in GP2," Marko explained.
F1 legend Alain Prost thinks Red Bull's decision regarding Kvyat was a response to the tumultuous season endured by the young Russian in 2016.
"The extension of his contract, despite some modest results, can be regarded as a way to thank him," the Frenchman said.
"We all thought Pierre would get his place, but in a way this is consistent with Red Bull's logic: they are their own masters and not always easy to understand.
"In addition to that, everything can change in a couple of months -- you can never be too sure with them," Prost added.
Gasly, 20, has been linked with other F1 teams for 2017, but Prost thinks a move would in fact be unlikely.
"Some of the youth programmes are a trap, and especially the Red Bull programme -- a driver can get stuck in it. He has a contract, so he can't just do what he wants," he said.
"In formula one, there are only 22 cars and it's necessary to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of a good opportunity, and it's not always easy," added Prost.