Pierre Gasly’s full season at Japan’s Super Formula helped him iron out a few mistakes and made him a better driver says Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko.
Even after winning the GP2 series in 2016, Red Bull bosses were sceptical of Gasly’s abilities. So they funded him to spend a season racing in Japan, instead of giving him a race seat at Formula 1.
Gasly had an excellent season in Japan. He got some race wins and came close to winning the championship in Super Formula. Marko believes the experience was vital in preparing the youngster for a race seat at Toro Rosso.
Speaking with a Sports website, Marko said: “Gasly won the GP2-series in his second year, he had a bit of bad luck but he also made mistakes. He matured in Japan, which was absolutely essential.
“He had to learn to care for himself, which was possible there as nobody spoke his language. He had to get his way, and he actually managed. At the end of the day, he didn’t win the championship because of this strange storm, but he managed to get his team to the top. He was an absolute winner.
“It was the right decision to give him the time. Also, Brendon Hartley has improved his character, now he has the experience. We expect both drivers to be in the points regularly in 2018.”
Gasly says his season at Japan toughened him up personally, as he had to deal with everything thrown at him on his own.
“In a way, it made me really much stronger mentally than I was in the past, and from all the experiences for me, there were no bad ones,” he said.
“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.”