Pierre Gasly is will make his Formula One debut at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix in place of Danni Kvyat.
The Frenchman, a Red Bull junior driver, is being lined up for a possible 2018 race seat and team officials see this as a good way to evaluate him for next season. It had been rumoured that he would replace Carlos Sainz if the Spaniard moved early to Renault in place of Jolyon Palmer. However with Palmer holding firm and easing pressure with points in Singapore that move looks dead before the season ends.
Toro Rosso would also have been reluctant to release Sainz early after his fourth place in Singapore and the closeness of their fight in the constructor’s title as they are just behind Williams in the fight for fifth.
The team confirmed the news on their website this morning. It is also thought that Gasly will also be in the car for the Japanese Grand Prix the following week, a track he knows well as he is currently racing in Super Formula.
Kvyat is expected to come back in for the USA GP at Austin as Gasly will be competing in the final round of the Super Formula Season the same weekend but it is unclear what the plans are for the final races in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. It has been a frustrating season for the Russian who has scored just four points compared to the 48 that Sainz has accumulated.
Many high-profile incidents over his career has also seen Red Bull bosses wonder about their driver’s future in the sport altogether with many believing that Toro Rosso will have a completely new line up next year with Kvyat dropped permanently. This would then open up another seat with some suggestions that Robert Kubica could be approached if the team does not promote another junior driver. The Pole is looking to return to the sport after many years out and it is believed his best chance is replacing Massa at Williams but he has competitions from Palmer and current Williams reserve driver Paul di Resta.
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