Pierre Gasly: I've proved you don't need money to reach Formula 1
|By Valentin Khorounzhiy and Oleg Karpov||Sunday, January 7th 2018, 13:52 GMT|
Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly says his Formula 1 break should encourage young drivers by showing it is not "all about money".
The 21-year-old Frenchman gets his first full F1 campaign with Red Bull's junior outfit Toro Rosso this year.
He joined the Red Bull programme after winning the Formula Renault Eurocup title back in 2013, and has since added a GP2 crown and runner-up finishes in Formula Renault 3.5 and Super Formula.
Reflecting on his path to F1, Gasly told Autosport: "In the end, we all know it's not always about performance. You need to have strong back-up.
"I didn't have any manager, so I was in a way alone, fighting against all the big sharks in this paddock and trying to make my place.
"And I'm really happy I managed to do it without any manager and without paying for my seat.
"Because now it's pretty tough to make it, it is also good for the young drivers [to see] it is still possible, you can make it.
"It is not all about money. It is possible to do it without."
While on the way to the 2016 GP2 title, Gasly had set his sights on racing for Toro Rosso in '17 - but he was overlooked, only to receive a mid-season call-up as a result of Daniil Kvyat's demotion.
Gasly said he was always convinced he would get himself on the F1 grid.
"If you look at what I've done, without being arrogant, but I won the 2.0 [Eurocup], I finished second in 3.5," he said.
"Some people after 3.5, finishing second went straight to F1 - thinking about like Daniel [Ricciardo], Jules [Bianchi].
"Then I went to GP2, I won GP2, I was second-youngest after Nico [Rosberg]. I looked at the other winners: Nico Hulkenberg is in F1, Lewis Hamilton is in F1, Nico is in F1, Stoffel [Vandoorne] is in F1.
"I'm one of the youngest who won it, so why should I not go to F1?
"Then I go to Super Formula and I'm like 'yeah, OK, it's another step, if I do well again there, it will be four different series and if I'm competitive in these all four, at some point it has to come!'
"So I just kept pushing, for me it was really always in my mind."
While he admitted he had been often "upset" about having to wait for his F1 chance, Gasly felt in the end that helped him psychologically.
"In a way it made me much stronger mentally than I was in the past," he said.
"For me, there are no bad experiences. You always learn something from it, if it's good or bad, there are always things to take with you.
"It's been a long trip, but with a lot of good experiences. And useful for me."