Red Bull boss Christian Horner has said his team has no intentions of replacing Pierre Gasly despite mounting speculation to the contrary.
The Frenchman stepped into the senior Red Bull team for this season as replacement to Daniel Ricciardo, and has so far been overshadowed by team-mate Max Verstappen.
While Verstappen sits third in the championship, with a race win and two other podium appearances to his name, Gasly is just sixth in the title fight with a best race result of fifth in Monaco.
The gulf in performance to Verstappen has led to suggestions that Gasly could soon be dropped from the senior team, replaced by Daniil Kvyat.
Ironically, Kvyat was dropped from the Red Bull senior team in favour of Max Verstappen in 2017, before losing his drive at Toro Rosso to Brendon Hartley later in the year 2017.
The Russian driver has returned to the grid this year in what is his third stint with Toro Rosso.
However, Horner has thrown his support behind Gasly despite his struggles and denied suggestions he’s on the chopping block.
“There is no intention to change Pierre,” Horner asserted.
“He’s our driver, we’re going to work with him, we will try to get the best out of him.
“He’s having a tough time at the moment but we will do our best to support him through it.”
Having progressed through the junior ranks with Red Bull, Gasly won the GP2 Series in 2016, and was a race winner in Japan’s Super Formula the following season.
He then had the measure of Hartley during their season together in Formula 1 last year, doing enough to earn a promotion when Ricciardo elected to switch to Renault for the current campaign.
Alongside Verstappen, who is at the peak of his powers and comfortable within the team, Gasly has struggled by comparison.
It’s the first time in his Formula 1 career where Gasly has not been the stronger of a team’s drivers.
“Pierre is having a tough time at the moment, we’re doing our best to support him, I think he just needs a reset,” Horner reasoned.
“I think we have got to somehow go ‘control-alt-delete’ in his head and start again.
“He is a quick driver,” he added.
“The problem he has got is that Max is delivering every week, and that puts more pressure on him to perform, but we’re sticking by him.
“We still believe in him and we’ll give him all the support we can to try and nurture the talent we know he has.”
F1 heads to Silverstone next weekend for the British Grand Prix, July 12-14.