Pierre Gasly admits that he sees criticism from Formula 1 fans on social media, but is willing to keep information regarding his Red Bull demotion confidential out of respect of the brand’s support for him.
The Frenchman was promoted to partner Max Verstappen after just one full season at what was Toro Rosso, but after failing to score a podium before the summer break last year he was dropped in favor of Alex Albon. Gasly said harsh comments online are impossible to ignore, but he tries to use them for motivation rather than allowing them to negatively affect him.
“In 2019 and 2020 our generation, everybody is on social media,” Gasly told RACER.
“Except Seb (Vettel) who is the only one and the only exception! We are still pushing him to be on Instagram, because it’s not normal these days not to be on social media.
“Obviously you see what’s happening, you see what people are saying. In my life, since I was really little, people were telling me, ‘It’s impossible you’re going to make it to F1. Only 20 drivers are in F1, why are you even trying? Blah, blah, blah…’ I’ve always managed to transform these negative thoughts and negative energy into something positive inside of me. To trigger more energy and even stronger motivation and will, and always came out stronger from this negative energy that people were trying to send me.
“I saw a couple of [comments], but it’s not something I tried to focus on. I’ve always been used to living with that sort of thing. When you are exposed, when you are a top athlete, especially at the top level of a sport – whether it’s Formula 1 or football or basketball – you are always judged for everything you do. People easily forget what you have done in the past and why you are here – you’re always judged for the last performance.”
Gasly said he understands how outside opinions are formed without knowledge of all the facts, but insists he’s willing for that to remain the case because he owes Red Bull for doing so much throughout his career.
“I just think people judged without having all the information,” he said. “As a professional athlete and professional driver I can’t speak, there’s stuff that needs to stay confidential. That’s why when people judge without having all the information, sometimes they’re wrong, but that’s their opinion and I accept it.
“On my side, I know what I’ve got to do and always try to step up my game and look at areas I can improve. That’s the only thing I tried to do when I was in Red Bull, and I didn’t change my approach when I was in Toro Rosso. There are different reasons which explain why it worked there and we had a good end of the year. Some of the reasons have been said, some haven’t, but unfortunately people have their own judgements and I accept it.
“I’m a Red Bull-contracted driver, and it’s also thanks to them they brought me into Formula 1. What happened in those six months doesn’t change the relationship and what they’ve done for me. There were problems, there were struggles, there were things that could have been fixed, and if we had to do this story again a lot of things would be different.
“But at the same time I’m still contracted with them, we’ve spoken about the things that didn’t go well, but then it’s not up to me to come into the media and say ‘This wasn’t right and this was wrong’. It’s not the right thing to do, and that’s why I don’t do it.
“Of course then you need to deal with the negative thoughts and negative energy sometimes, but there are a lot of people that are bringing positive energy and positive vibes, and that’s the people I’m focusing on and that are supporting.”
Hear Medland’s full conversation with Gasly below.