Russian racer Mikhail Aleshin believes his compatriot Daniil Kvyat could replace Pierre Gasly at Red Bull if he doesn’t improve.
It was a season-opener to forget for Gasly, spending most of the race in Melbourne behind Kvyat in the Toro Rosso as the returning Russian went on to claim the final point in P10, while Gasly departed empty-handed in P11.
Aleshin, who now competes in Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship, accepts that while it is too early to write Gasly off, he does hope that his fellow countryman can force his way back into the team that dropped him back in 2016.
Speaking to Russian outlet Sportbox, Aleshin said: “It was very good to see Kvyat showing his character and not letting Pierre Gasly go past in Melbourne.
“It is hard to know why Gasly drove so inexpressively, but if Kvyat continues in the same spirit, we can all have hope that Daniil could move to the stronger team.
“I understand that such thoughts may be premature, but for us this situation is, of course, positive.”
Both Toro Rosso and Red Bull are in an engine partnership with Honda for 2019, and Aleshin predicts Kvyat to be a consistent feature of the top 10 with the Japanese manufacturer’s much improved power unit.
“I don’t think that these places will be much higher than the result in the Australian Grand Prix,” Aleshin said.
“Still, Toro Rosso is not Red Bull or Ferrari.
“But with the right updates and without technical problems, the team will consistently fight for the top ten.”