Rebuilding Gasly's confidence an 'easy exercise' - Tost
A year ago, it was unthinkable to Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost that Alex Albon would be driving a Red Bull RB15 in 2019. But now that’s the case, Tost has a job to do: rebuilding the confidence of Pierre Gasly after his demotion from the senior squad to make way for the Thai driver.
“It was not that Alex Albon was not on our radar as he had already won F2 races, we talked about him. Twelve months later, that he’s sitting in a Red Bull? I didn’t expect it to be honest,” said Tost after Albon’s first race in a Red Bull RB15, the Belgian Grand Prix, in which he recovered from 17th on the grid to finish fifth.
If a driver is coming back from Red Bull to Toro Rosso he is shocked and demotivated and he’s lost confidence
The upshot of that blockbuster move was that Pierre Gasly, who had only joined Red Bull this season as Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement, had to move back to Toro Rosso, where he spent his rookie season in 2018. As always, it took a toll on the returning driver, something that Tost has witnessed before after Daniil Kvyat was dropped from Red Bull for Max Verstappen in 2016.
“If a driver is coming back from Red Bull to Toro Rosso he is shocked and demotivated and he’s lost confidence,” said Tost. “The job from the team and from my side is to help them, support them and to bring together all the ingredients they need to perform as well as they did beforehand. Because Red Bull Racing took them when they were successful with us,” he said.
During his spell at Red Bull, Gasly scored 63 points to Max Verstappen’s 181 in 12 races, being out-qualified and out-raced 11-1. But now he's back at Toro Rosso, Tost says it’s almost like the Frenchman - who scored a battling ninth on his second debut with the team in Belgium - never left the Faenza-based team.
“Yeah it’s the same. Nothing has [changed], overalls and everything were still there! It was only a few months,” he joked.
Tost called it an “easy exercise” to rebuild Gasly’s confidence.
“He came to the factory as if it was yesterday. From the beginning onwards there was good cooperation, we trust each other, we support each other, therefore… I am convinced that he will soon have back his confidence,” said the Austrian.
As they battle to retain sixth in the constructors' standings, Toro Rosso will be banking on a revitalised Gasly being a regular scorer...