Pierre Gasly has been on the hot seat for much of the 2019 Formula 1 season, and his performance in the Canadian Grand Prix was his worst of the season.
Pierre Gasly was named the replacement for the Renault-bound Daniel Ricciardo last August for the 2019 Formula 1 season as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, and for pretty much the whole first one-third of the 21-race season, he has been on the hot seat.
Underwhelming performances in the qualifying sessions for the season’s first two races, the Australian Grand Prix (17th place) and the Bahrain Grand Prix (13th), and underwhelming performances in the races themselves (11th and eighth, respectively) sparked rumors that Red Bull Racing may not only replace him before the 2020 season starts but before the 2019 season ends.
Gasly improved from the season’s third through sixth races, finishing in sixth place twice and fifth once while losing a potential sixth place finish as a result of a late driveshaft issue that forced him to retire in the other race, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
His weekend for this past Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix began with promise, as he qualified in a career-high-tying fifth place. Set to start behind Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo in fourth, a career-high-tying fourth place finish did not seem to be too far out of reach for the 23-year-old Frenchman.
Meanwhile, teammate Max Verstappen, who had previously outqualified him in each of the season’s first six qualifying sessions and finished higher than him in the season’s first six races, was mired in 11th (started in ninth after two other drivers received post-qualifying grid penalties) after being caught out by a red flag in the second round of qualifying.
Gasly was poised for his best race as a Red Bull Racing driver. Instead, from start to finish, it was his worst.
After starting in the fourth highest position of the six Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing drivers, Gasly couldn’t even manage another top six finish.
For just the second race this season, Gasly finished one lap off the lead lap after spending much of the race stuck behind SportPesa Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, who had one of the best drivers of his career in his home race en route to finishing in ninth place, in a battle for eighth.
After Stroll made his pit stop, Gasly ended up in eighth place, and he was unable to advance any more positions. The other five Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing drivers all finished in the top five for the sixth time in seven races this season. Verstappen finished in fifth.
Gasly not only finished behind Ricciardo but Ricciardo’s teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, as well. They finished in sixth and seventh place, respectively. This race was the first race all season that resulted in Gasly finishing in a position lower than the one in which he started it.
For several races, we have been saying that Gasly needs to improve to a great extent in order to retain his ride at Red Bull Racing for much longer. While he has shown some improvement so far this season, his performance in this 70-lap the 14-turn, 2.71-mile (4.361-kilometer) Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course on Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal, Quebec, Canada was an abysmal setback.
It is hard to imagine that his leash has not been getting shorter and shorter in Milton Keynes over the course of the first one-third of the season and that the team are seriously considering replacing him in the very near future, ahead of the 2020 season at the latest.
Is Pierre Gasly’s future at Red Bull Racing in jeopardy after his worst performance of the 2019 Formula 1 season in this past Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix?