Pierre Gasly believes that he is ready to return to Red Bull Racing after a maiden Formula 1 victory in the Italian Grand Prix.
The Frenchman failed to see out a full season at Red Bull’s senior team when he was demoted to Scuderia AlphaTauri, then known as Scuderia Toro Rosso, during last year’s summer break.
He would go on to achieve his first F1 podium in the penultimate race of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix, before his triumph at Monza last time out.
The result was just the second win for Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri, the other being Sebastian Vettel’s own first victory at the same circuit in 2008.
Vettel found himself at Red Bull the following year, leading to questions about whether Gasly might be back there soon, amid speculation also about incumbent Alexander Albon’s future at the Milton Keynes team.
“I think I’m ready, but it’s not up to me to make that call,” said Gasly.
“The only thing I’ve done since they moved me back to Toro Rosso has been just to focus on myself and just show what I can do.
“When I get the right tools in my hand, I’m really happy that the performance we’ve shown. Generally, we’ve been pretty strong most of the time. We’ve had some really strong qualifying (sessions), really strong races.
“We’ll see what happens, but there have been many, many strong drivers in Toro Rosso. I’m really happy to be one of the two that have managed to get a win for this team.
“Obviously, I guess the strong results should be rewarded with something, but we will see what happens.”
The now 24-year-old had to deal not only with his punting from Red Bull in 2019, but also the death of friend Anthoine Hubert.
“That was a tough moment last year,” said Gasly.
“I grew up with four brothers and as a child, I had to work through quite difficult moments, which built me a pretty strong character and I always had to fight for everything I wanted.
“I always, in some way, managed to turn that negative energy into something positive. Obviously I felt hurt and I didn’t feel it was fair to myself and I really wanted to make a clear point in that moment.
“But, I know I’m fast, I know what I can do; I’ve been fighting for victories, for pole, championships in my early years, in my career and that’s what I want in F1.
“I really worked very hard with the team, and I knew that with them I had everything in my hands to show my potential.
“After, I just tried to focus on my own performance, not really looking at the others, taking race after race, looking at what I can improve on my side; what I can improve with the team, with my engineers, just to extract more from myself and more from that package and combination.
“Honestly, I can’t be happier with the team I have at the moment. They are doing an amazing job; they are giving me everything I need to be competitive every single weekend.
“Sometimes we are fast enough for the top eight, sometimes for top 10, sometimes top 12, but at the end of the day, they really give all their energy for my own performance, which I really appreciate and I’m really thankful for, because thanks to that, it gave us my first race win in Formula 1.”
Gasly now occupies eighth in the championship ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.