Gasly ready for ‘insane’ Suzuka reception for Honda-powered foursome
With their four Honda-powered cars set to mount an assault at Suzuka next weekend, Pierre Gasly is already looking forward to the best reception of the season for Toro Rosso and Red Bull.
This year will mark the first Japanese GP with four Honda-engined machines on the grid since 2007, when Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello raced for a 'works' Honda outfit and Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson lined up for Super Aguri at Fuji.
And Gasly said he was relishing being one of those set to be cheered on by the passionate Japanese support.
“I guess this year with Red Bull plus Toro Rosso will be quite insane so I’m really looking forward to getting there,” he smiled.
Gasly’s eyes lit up further when he was told by a Japanese reporter in Russia that there will be a capacity crowd awaiting him and Toro Rosso team mate Daniil Kvyat, and the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Alex Albon.
“It’s almost sold out? The Honda grandstand is already sold out?" he asked wide-eyed.
“I think we’re really looking forward to this one. Already last year it was really impressive to see so much support. Seeing it at the race, it was the most support since the start of my career because the Japanese are so passionate and they’re really showing their passion and support.”
Back in 2007, only Barrichello managed to finish the race with P10 at the flag.
And last year, even though Gasly lined up sixth, one place ahead of team mate Brendon Hartley, neither managed to score a point.
Honda are hoping Toro Rosso fare better this year – especially as they readied them and Red Bull in Russia with new ‘Spec 4’ engines for the race at Suzuka.
“We also have some upgrades, so I really hope we can provide a good performance in front of all of them," added Gasly. "Last year we had a good quali but not a good race.
“Hopefully this year we can get the two together, especially as it will mean a lot for Honda and for all the fans who support us.”
Drivers' standings before Japan
|6 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso||69|
|7 Carlos Sainz McLaren||66|
|8 Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing||52|