Gasly to make Formula 1 debut in Malaysia
26 September 2017 – Toro Rosso has confirmed that Pierre Gasly will make his Formula 1 debut with the team at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, in place of Daniil Kvyat, who remains part of Red Bull's programme.
Gasly, 21, has been backed by Red Bull since 2014 and last year claimed the GP2 title, but the company opted to keep Kvyat at Toro Rosso for 2017.
He had already been tipped to make his Formula 1 bow at Sepang, in the event that Carlos Sainz Jr. made an early move to Renault in place of Jolyon Palmer, facilitated by the engine developments.
However, Palmer has held firm and intends to see out the remainder of the season at the team, with Sainz Jr. staying at Toro Rosso as a result.
Red Bull chiefs, though, will still give Gasly his F1 shot in Malaysia, in place of Kvyat, and the Frenchman is set to remain in the STR12 for the following race in Japan.
Kvyat is poised to return for the US round, as it clashes with the Super Formula finale at Suzuka, with Gasly holding a strong chance of taking the title in the series.
Toro Rosso has stressed that Kvyat remains part of the Red Bull family, but that he has been stood down for the next races off the back of a disappointing campaign, in which he has scored just four points.
"Toro Rosso was established by Red Bull to bring youngsters from its Junior Programme into Formula 1 and that's what we are doing by giving Pierre this chance," said team boss Franz Tost.
"He is the next in line at Red Bull for this opportunity and he has shown that he deserves it, having taken the 2016 GP2 title and this year being very competitive in the Super Formula series in Japan.
"He really has a valid chance of winning the title, as he is only half a point behind the leader.
"The driver switch gives us an opportunity to make a more informed decision regarding our 2018 driver choices.
"For a variety of reasons, some of them due to technical problems, but others being mistakes of his own making, Daniil has not really shown his true potential so far this year, which is why we are standing him down for the next races.
"This will give us the opportunity to evaluate Pierre on track during a proper race weekend."
Toro Rosso's plans for the final three rounds in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi have not been outlined.