When he left Karting for cars in 2011 at just 15 years old, Pierre Gasly made a bold decision.
He was indeed one of the first not to continue in the Senior categories. Esteban Ocon followed the same path a year later, while Charles Leclerc stayed until KZ.
Different choices did not prevent these three hopefuls from arriving in Formula 1 a few years later. A Scuderia Toro Rosso driver in 2018 at age 21, Gasly will join the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team in 2019 alongside Max Verstappen.
PIERRE, WHAT ARE YOUR BEST MEMORIES IN KARTING?
Like all Drivers, I have a lot of good memories of Karting. It’s a very intense discipline that marks a lifetime. Plus, it’s a time when family and childhood friends are very close. I started at nine years old in Minikart before continuing in the Minime then Cadet categories in France. Since entering international Competition, the good results continued with Sodikart. In 2009 I was on the podium of the CIK-FIA KF3 World Cup at Sarno, a crucial moment for me. Shortly afterwards, I discovered the United States and Las Vegas at the Supernationals and again took 3rd place in TaG Junior. The following year, I had the satisfaction of becoming European Vice-Champion in KF3 at Genk. Alexander Albon won and Max Verstappen finished 5th.
YOUR EARLY MOVE TO SINGLE-SEATERS WAS MUCH COMMENTED ON AT THE TIME…
It was not common at the time, but the FFSA proposed to support me in this adventure and I did not really hesitate. I was already educated at Le Mans in both sport and academic subjects, I had two good seasons in Junior, and I do not regret my choice. When you look at the young drivers who have been in Formula 1 for some time, there are different paths, but the same desire to succeed.
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MILESTONES OF YOUR CAR CAREER SO FAR?
After finishing 3rd in the French F4 Championship in 2011, I won the Eurocup FR 2.0 in 2013. Thanks to this I was supported by the Red Bull Junior Team for 2014 and I was top rookie and Vice-Champion in Formula Renault 3.5. In 2016, I won the new FIA F2 Championship after a constant fight. I was already a reserve Driver for Red Bull Racing and was able to start my first Formula 1 season with Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda in 2018. Next year, I have the chance to join Max Verstappen at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.
HOW HAS KARTING CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR CAREER?
It is impossible to ignore Karting. This is where you learn everything: the basics of driving, of course, but also the sense of attack and the management of a race weekend or a Championship. Knowing how to surpass oneself and look for the last hundredths at the age of 10 is fundamental to succeeding afterwards. Today’s young people are even learning to work with data acquisition. I always drive karts with friends for fun or for my own pleasure in KZ. Karting provides unequalled sensations!
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A YOUNG PERSON WHO DREAMS OF SUCCEEDING IN RACING?
In the first place, you must know what you want and want it very much. It’s the rage to win that makes the difference. The mental strength is essential, you must pay attention to the smallest details and always remain focused on victory.