Pierre Gasly admits he was not only shocked but also “angry” when he learnt of his Red Bull demotion as he felt the team’s decision was unfair.
Although Gasly was struggling to match team-mate Max Verstappen, Red Bull assured him as he went into the summer break that his seat was safe.
Days later he was received a phone call informing him that he had lost his seat and would be heading back to Toro Rosso for the rest of the season.
The Frenchman wasn’t impressed.
“Of course when I got the news I was really shocked and kind of angry,” Gasly told Motorsportweek.com.
“I don’t feel it was fair, because these first six months were nowhere near what we should have shown.
“You do care, because you want to be in the fastest car.
“And I’ve tried to make changes in my way, and I’ve been promised things that in the end didn’t happen. There were many things that didn’t go in the right way.
“But at the end of the day this was the situation, it was done, it was passed, I couldn’t change it.”
Demoted to Toro Rosso, the Frenchman was determined to prove to Red Bull that he still had what it takes to be a Formula 1 driver.
“I thought, okay, I have these nine races where I’m going to show my skills, my speed, my consistency, the things I’ve shown since I started single-seaters until I got to Red Bull.
“I’ve been fast in every season in every car in every different category and these six months [were the] only six months of my career where things didn’t go right.
“Suddenly everyone questions ‘ah does he know how to brake, does he know how to turn the wheel’ and all these things, and all these silly things that comment because the information stays confidential within the team.
“It was like, okay, now I’m going to work harder than ever to prove this point and for these nine races I want to be at the best level ever without changing anything, still keeping the same approach I had at the beginning of the year, but just making sure I’m on top of the game every session.”
Such has been Gasly’s performances back at Toro Rosso, which included a runner-up result at the Brazilian Grand Prix, that he has earned a new contract for the 2020 season.
“I was with some friends and they were like ‘your year has been like a Hollywood movie, a movie you think it can’t be true, there are too many things that happened to be true’,” he jokes.
“And that’s a bit the way I feel it as well.
“I just went through all sorts of emotions and feelings, from frustration to anger, to one of the saddest moments of my life at Spa with Anthoine [Hubert] and then two months later to one of the happiest moments of my life with the first podium in F1.
“It’s just like such a roller-coaster but at the same time I’ve learned a lot from these situations on a personal level but also as a driver.
“In the end it was only my second season in F1 so there’s still a lot of things you discover and experience.”