DECEMBER 6, 2016
Gasly aims to race in 2018 French GP return
New GP2 champion Pierre Gasly has set his sights on being in F1 in time for France's calendar return in 2018.
As a Red Bull junior, the 20-year-old had hoped to debut for Toro Rosso next year but the energy drink company decided to re-sign Russian Daniil Kvyat instead.
Gasly, however, went on to win the 2016 GP2 title from behind, and he now tells Le Figaro newspaper that he is determined to be on the grid for when Paul Ricard stages the first French grand prix in a decade.
"I aim to be involved from 2018 because my goal, even more so today with this announcement, is to get into formula one as soon as possible," he said on Monday.
"Anyway, this is a fabulous motivation and I am ready to give everything for it."
Gasly admits that with his hopes looking slim for 2017, the timing now looks right to wait another year and make his debut just as France makes its F1 return.
"That would be ideal," he said.
"I will try to suggest it to Helmut (Marko)," he smiled. "I will devote all my energy to be at the start in 2018. This objective is very clear in my mind and the announcement of the return of the French grand prix is a boost."
And Gasly said he already knows the Paul Ricard layout well, even though the Bernie Ecclestone-owned circuit in Le Castellet has not been raced on by F1 since 1990.
"I had the chance to drive there this season for Red Bull to test the Pirelli tyres and it was two fantastic days," he said.
"It is a very interesting and technical track, with very specific curves, a very fast part and a twisty section, so very diverse," he explained.
"I think this circuit really has a place on the F1 calendar, and perhaps it is even one of the most interesting."