Pierre Gasly admits the off-season break was an opportunity for him to be able to recharge and reset after a turbulent 2019 Formula 1 season in which he lost his Red Bull seat.
The Frenchman was promoted to Red Bull a year ago after impressing in his first full season with Toro Rosso, earning a call-up to replace Daniel Ricciardo. However, Gasly struggled with the RB15 and was replaced by Alex Albon during the summer break before he’d even scored a podium. After being demoted to the junior team, however, he bounced back to take a stunning second-place finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Despite that strong finish to the year with Toro Rosso, Gasly says he needed time off over the winter to deal with the challenging 12 months.
“It was clearly very important because last year I went through all sorts of emotions,” Gasly said. ”It was clearly the most intense and one of the years where I’ve learned the most about myself personally, also as an athlete.
“I also just needed some time with the family, the people that know me. I just needed to recharge and come back with a blank sheet for 2020 and just be fully focused on the job. We finished the year really well, which was really important, and now I hope we can keep that momentum into 2020.”
Gasly says he has moved on completely from 2019, heading into the new year with the rebranded AlphaTauri team with a fresh outlook.
“Honestly I’ve completely turned the page on last year. It’s a completely new year, and a new chapter with AlphaTauri. There are a lot of things to take from last year — positives, negatives. I’ve reviewed everything and I’ve started the 1st of January fresh, so it’s only positives with me. I’m ready to build on the strong end of the year with Toro Rosso and it’s a new start with AlphaTauri.”
Despite that approach, Gasly insists he will make no fundamental changes to the way he goes about his work as he tries to convince Red Bull he is worthy of a second chance at the senior team.
“I think I’m even more specific on what I need personally, rather than doing something a bit more general. I know the areas I need to work on. I’ve only been two years in F1 so this year I’ll have double the experience I had at the same time last year. I do feel I understand a bit more what I need personally as a driver from the team, from my engineers and the areas I need to work on. We need to focus a bit more on the details.”