Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly should not be judged against the rookie performances of Robin Frijns and Stoffel Vandoorne in Formula Renault 3.5, his Arden team believes.
Frenchman Gasly steps up to FR3.5 with Arden as a new recruit to the Red Bull junior scheme, having won the Formula Renault Eurocup title in 2013. The last two winners of that championship — Robin Frijns and Stoffel Vandoorne — both fought for the FR3.5 title in their rookie season, with Frijns going on to win the championship.
While both Gasly and Arden have said that he can fight for the title in 2014, the team believes that he should be given more time to adapt than Frijns and Vandoorne required.
“The one thing that people need to observe with Pierre when making judgments is how much younger he is than Robin and Stoffel were,” Arden team boss Julian Rouse said. “It’s been an impressive couple of years with Robin and Stoffel, but when they were jumping from FR2.0 to 3.5 they were already 20-21. Pierre will only be 18, so it might take him a little longer to adapt, naturally.”
Rouse believes that age can play a factor in a driver’s development regardless of experience.
“For me, age makes a big difference in how a driver can adapt, just because they have much more life experience,” he said. “I think people have got to give him a chance to adapt and take his age into consideration.
“We’ve got plenty of testing before the season starts, so he should be able to get his head around it.”