Pierre Gasly is stepping into a Red Bull racer “faster” than Christian Horner had wanted, the team boss had admitted.
The Frenchman has been promoted to Red Bull for this year’s championship, stepping up after one full season at Toro Rosso.
He was handed the job after Daniel Ricciardo shocked Red Bull when he decided to quit the team in favour of signing with Renault.
That means Gasly will take on Max Verstappen as his new team-mate, a task that Horner says won’t be easy.
“Pierre is a very quick driver and it is up to us to give him a little bit of time to get up to speed,” the team boss told Autosport.
“It is faster than we would have originally liked to elevate him into the team, so Max will be very much taking on the role of the experienced senior driver and Pierre is going to have to go up against a very competitive team-mate.”
And although Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko insists Gasly won’t be a number two driver to Verstappen, Horner hinted that it may be the case but more because of their differing experience.
He said: “It is not going to be easy. Of course it is not. But he knows what is expected of him.
“And in actual fact, for the team, it is a far easier scenario than it has been in previous years.
“We have got a clear difference between the experience in the two drivers and the expectations.”
As for Verstappen, the Brit believes he has learned from his mistakes after a trying start to 2018 ended with a P4 in the championship.
“You are always learning and he is such a young driver.
“What we have seen is that all drivers make mistakes. We have seen that with experienced drivers as well.
“As he is gaining more and more experience he is applying it extremely well.”