Christian Horner insists Red Bull aren’t expecting new arrival Pierre Gasly to compete with team mate Max Verstappen (4/1 – 2019 World Drivers’ Championship outright) and admits he will need time to settle.
Red Bull parted ways with Daniel Ricciardo at the end of the 2018 campaign and Gasly has been drafted in to partner Verstappen.
Gasly has spent the last couple of seasons with feeder team Toro Rosso, having picked up 29 points to finish 15th in the Drivers’ Championship last term.
However, he will be under greater scrutiny at Red Bull, especially if he struggles to earn points in his first few races.
Daniil Kvyat is testament to Red Bull’s ruthlessness when it comes to dropping drivers for underperforming.
The Russian lost his seat just four races into the 2016 campaign when Verstappen was promoted from Toro Rosso.
Horner has, though, hinted at a change in approach from the team and insists Gasly will be given time to settle into life with the Milton Keynes-based outfit.
“Pierre is a very quick driver and it is up to us to give him a little bit of time to get up to speed,” Horner told Autosport.
The Red Bull chief, who admits Gasly’s arrival came ahead of schedule, wants to see Verstappen assume the role of team leader and that could boost his chances of closing the gap on Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton (4/5 – 2019 World Drivers’ Championship) in 2019.
He added: “It is faster than we would have originally liked to elevate him into the team, so Max will be very much taking on the role of the experienced senior driver and Pierre is going to have to go up against a very competitive team-mate.”
Odds subject to change.