Pierre Gasly says he spoke to Helmut Marko about claims that Nico Hulkenberg could replace him at Red Bull in 2020, something Hulkenberg himself called ‘crazy’.
An Italian website reported Gasly is already under pressure for his seat next season as a result of a difficult start to this year in which he has struggled to get close to teammate Max Verstappen. Hulkenberg was named as a potential replacement in the report, a claim that Gasly himself was angered by.
“We call each other every week, so after each race, we’re on the phone together,” Gasly (pictured at right, above) said of speaking to Marko. “He called me before just to sort everything out, and honestly I don’t want to waste any time with this kind of bulls**t. I have more important things to take care of like my job, my family, my friends.
“For me, bulls**t like this is just bad journalism. I don’t want to comment any more about this.”
Hulkenberg was also asked how credible the link was, but dismissed the suggestion he could move to Red Bull next year.
“Crazy,” Hulkenberg said. “I don’t know. I think I heard it came from the Italian side. It was made up. It’s basically fake news.
“It felt great for my ego! Not really — it didn’t do anything to me. My confidence level is OK, even without.”
Marko himself told German media the rumors were “far-fetched,” although Gasly admits he needs to continue to close the gap to Verstappen as he gets more experience at Red Bull.
“I think it’s improving, otherwise I would not do the performance that we did in Monaco,” Gasly said. “We finished within 10 seconds of the leader, starting eighth. I think it’s improving for sure. I still feel I am far from getting the full potential of myself at the moment, because there are still things I am not feeling fully comfortable with; but from race to race, I can see and I can feel things are getting better.
“There are many areas where we can improve — in the way I work with my new engineers, the fact that we get to know a bit better every weekend the directions we are trying and testing with the car, and also just the feeling inside the car. I think it’s all going in the right direction, but it’s fair to say that I think I have quite a lot more potential to come out once I really feel comfortable with the package.”