Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Pierre Gasly won’t be promoted in place of Alex Albon because they would both perform at a similar level in the same car.
Albon replaced Gasly after 12 races at Red Bull last year when the Frenchman was struggling, and the rookie went on to perform consistently in the more senior team but didn’t score a podium. Gasly recovered quickly, finishing second in Brazil last year and then taking a surprise win at Monza this season, but despite ongoing impressive performances, Horner says he will not get promoted again next year.
“We have a lot of information on the drivers over a big period of time,” Horner said. “Pierre’s done a super job [in Portugal] and he’s driving very well in that environment with AlphaTauri, he’s comfortable in that car with perhaps the less pressure that goes with that environment as well, and less expectation. I think their aspirations as a team are different to as it was as Toro Rosso so it makes sense that the fit works well in both directions with Pierre and the AlphaTauri team.”
Explaining that decision in more detail, Horner said the difficult characteristics of the Red Bull hampered both drives alongside Max Verstappen, and he’d expect to see similar results from Albon to Gasly if they were both in the AlphaTauri.
“I think the car is a more difficult car to drive than the AlphaTauri, we know that and it’s very, very clear,” he said. “The car is much more rear-sensitive, and I think that can be unnerving for drivers. Max copes with that incredibly well, other drivers have struggled more with that. I think that’s just the facts of it.
“I think if Alex was in an AlphaTauri he’d probably be doing a very similar job to what we saw with Pierre, I have no doubts of that. It’s just the characteristics of our car, they’re struggling to commit on corner entry and you see it a little bit with the Ferrari with [Charles] Leclerc and [Sebastian] Vettel at the moment, you see it in the race with [Lewis] Hamilton and [Valtteri] Bottas. That’s just the way it is sometimes.
“So our first and foremost priority is to give Alex the opportunity to lay claim to that seat. Let’s not forget when he jumped in that car last year he outscored and outperformed Pierre significantly in the balance of 2019. If we were to swap them back, why would it be any different?”