Demoting Pierre Gasly back to Toro Rosso last season, Helmut Marko says it must not be viewed as a demotion but rather it was an “opportunity” for the driver.
Gasly was handed a Red Bull seat for the 2019 season, called up a year earlier than team boss Christian Horner had wanted in the wake of Daniel Ricciardo’s shock move to Renault.
The Frenchman, and the world’s media, were told he would have all the time he needed to find his feet.
That time turned out to be just 12 races.
Gasly was sent back to Toro Rosso, replaced by Alexander Albon after the summer break.
“I have to fight against the word ‘demotion’,” Marko told Autosport.
“We’re talking about Formula 1: how many thousands of drivers dream and work to get into Formula 1?
“And now one goes from an F1 team that competes at the top to a team that drives in the midfield. He’s still making money and he’s still in the premier class.
“I would say that this is an opening of new opportunities and not a demotion.”
Gasly took that opportunity, scoring in five of his nine races back at Toro Rosso.
That included a runner-up result at the Brazilian Grand Prix, his first-ever Formula 1 podium.
Marko feels the 23-year-old can become a “great” driver again.
“It was a blossoming that was incredible,” said Marko. “There, you can see what psychology is all about.
“If I would say now that I had expected this, it would be a complete lie.
“In contrast to [Daniil] Kvyat [who was moved from Red Bull to Toro Rosso in 2016], Gasly has risen again. Thank God for him and for us.
“I think he will have learned his lessons from these six months at Red Bull. I think that he can become a great man in the future.”