If the articles and rumors are true and Renault do move their engine supply to McLaren and away from Scuderia Toro Rosso (STR) as a sort of payment in kind as well as moving Carlos Sainz to Renault Sport F1, then this leaves a seat at the junior Red Bull team as well as a much-needed engine supply which Honda would presumably fill.
As such, the conversation has naturally evolved to thoughts on which driver will fill the STR seat? The conventional wisdom might be Pierre Gasly who dropped no small hint that he could be heading to STR:
“I know there are few things going on at the moment,” said Gasly.
“We will see in the next couple of days what will happen.
“For me, it will be amazing [to race in F1]. It’s been my dream and I’ve been working really hard to get there.
“I’m still pushing every day to make it happen.
“This weekend I wanted to focus on my weekend and do the best I could.
“Now, we have a few days until the next race, and Malaysia will arrive quickly. Let’s see how it goes. Hopefully I can be there.”
Currently running second in the Super Formula series in which he races, the Red Bull Junior driver has been working hard for the opportunity to drive in F1 and that could come sooner than later if rumors are correct.
Malaysia could be the first race in which Gasly runs in the STR if Renault jettison Jolyon Palmer in favor of Sainz for the balance of the season—which sounds quite harsh to be honest but Palmer hasn’t been doing himself any favors at Renault.
There’s also another curve ball that could either impact Gasly’s opportunity or even thwart current STR driver, Daniil Kvyat. If Honda do supply the engine for STR, they may want to supply the driver in the form of Nobuharu Matsushita.
Matsushita still needs FIA super license points in order to qualify for the ride but there may be enough junior races left to do that should Honda press very hard to make it happen. If it did happen, Would Kvyat be at risk in order to field Gasly and Honda’s junior driver?
Time will tell but in the end, it is a circuitous route to keep Alonso happy and at McLaren.
Hat Tip: Autosport