Gasly keep­ing Red Bull busy be­fore the sea­son be­gins, says team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner

Af­ter crash­ing twice dur­ing pre-sea­son test­ing, the French­man says he needs to learn from mis­takes

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Sport - ▪ sports­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

TOKYO: Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly is keep­ing his new team busy ahead of the 2019 For­mula One sea­son, team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner said on Saturday.

French­man Gasly, who re­placed Daniel Ric­cia­rdo at the team, crashed twice dur­ing pre­sea­son test­ing in Barcelona last month, re­strict­ing team mate Max Ver­stap­pen’s time on track.

Ahead of the start of the new sea­son in Aus­tralia next week­end, Gasly is al­ready un­der pres­sure to prove he can com­pete for his new team.

“The team is very busy, with the first race be­ing on the other side of the world, 10,000 miles away, in Aus­tralia,” Horner said at an event with new en­gine part­ners Honda in Tokyo.

“Pierre has kept the team even busier af­ter his in­ci­dent last week.”

Gasly, who was seated next to Horner, said: “I need to learn from these mis­takes.”

“It wasn’t the best end of the two weeks but I will re­mem­ber the pos­i­tives and work on the neg­a­tives.

“I think over­all, the pack­age, the first feel­ing with it was great.

“Ob­vi­ously, I am not feel­ing as com­fort­able as I would like with the car and it is my job to set it how I want with the team around me.”

THRILLING FANS

Ver­stap­pen and Gasly also thrilled fans by per­form­ing dough­nuts on the streets of the Ja­panese cap­i­tal dur­ing a Red Bull pro­mo­tional event. The driv­ers were in Tokyo in sup­port of Honda, who will be sup­ply the team with power units this year.

Red Bull parted com­pany with en­gine part­ners Re­nault at the end of 2018.

Horner said the new re­la­tion­ship with Honda was blos­som­ing and that the team were ready to chal­lenge Mercedes and Fer­rari in the cham­pi­onship.

“It is the start of a new era for Red Bull Rac­ing with Honda,” he said.

“Ev­ery­thing we have seen from the power unit so far, it’s re­li­a­bil­ity, it’s per­for­mance, the way it is in­cor­po­rated into the chas­sis, is ex­tremely en­cour­ag­ing.

“We have had a pos­i­tive pre­sea­son and are hope­ful and op­ti­mistic for the sea­son ahead.”

FIN­ISH­ING THIRD

Red Bull, who last won the cham­pi­onship in 2013, fin­ished third over­all last sea­son, over 200 points be­hind win­ners Mercedes.

“Mercedes, hav­ing won five con­sec­u­tive world cham­pi­onships now, and Fer­rari are cur­rently the bench­mark,” said Horner.

“But we are con­fi­dent we are clos­ing that gap and we have all the tools around us to be re­ally able to take the fight to both of those teams and man­u­fac­tur­ers.”

The team will now travel to Mel­bourne ahead of the Aus­tralian Grand Prix on March 17.

GETTY

▪ Pierre Gasly of France and Red Bull Rac­ing (left) talks with race en­gi­neer Mike Lugg in the garage dur­ing a Win­ter Test­ing ses­sion.

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