2016 GP2 champion Pierre Gasly insists that he’s still hopeful of making it into Formula 1 with Toro Rosso next season, but admits he’s still waiting on any decision.
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With Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat currently racing for the team, Gasly has been competing in Japanese Super Formula with Team Mugen this season. He also took part in the New York ePrix last month in place of Sebastien Buemi.
Gasly was at the Hungaroring this week to carry out testing in the Red Bull car. He posted a time of 1:20.337s after completing 107 laps on Wednesday, compared with Max Verstappen’s 1:21.228s the previous day.
“My plan is of course to be with Toro Rosso on the grid,” said Gasly. “That’s the target, to be on the grid in 2018
“So many things are going on at the moment, hopefully it can turn out well for me,” he added. “We need to wait at the moment but definitely the plan is to be on the grid next year.
“After winning GP2 last year, of course your target is to be in Formula 1,” he continued. “Lewis [Hamilton] has won GP2, Nico [Rosberg] has won GP2, Stoffel [Vandoorne] as well. Most of the drivers have been there.”
Gasly said he was in personal contact with Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport consultant in charge of the driver development programme.
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“I don’t have any manager so I speak straight with him and you know he’s really straight forward guy,” Gasly explained. “You know when something happens he basically just calls you and says, ‘Okay, that’s done.'”
Gasly insisted that he wasn’t surprised that there had been no definite word about plans for 2018.
“It’s a bit too early as we are only at the beginning of August,” he said. “But definitely I think this month we will hopefully have more news.”
While admitting that not getting into Formula 1 this season had been ‘difficult”, Gasly said he was putting the time to good use.
“At the moment I do a year as reserve driver for Red Bull, which is also useful for me,” he said.
“I’m really focusing on my physical condition to be as ready as possible.
“Hopefully when I will have my opportunity I will be at my best and be able to perform. At the moment we need to wait and see what’s going to happen.”
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