Pierre Gasly says he doesn’t understand why he was snubbed by Daniil Kvyat for a 2017 Toro Rosso seat.
On the back of a strong ongoing GP2 campaign, Gasly had emerged as a prime candidate to race alongside Carlos Sainz at Toro Rosso for 2017.
However, despite the general consensus that the Frenchman would be promoted to F1, Red Bull instead decided to retain the services of Kvyat for another season.
The announcement naturally came as a surprise for Gasly, who admitted that things were ‘’looking good for him’’ until a few days ago.
"The target for me of course was to get in Toro Rosso next year," he said. "I didn't actually understand their decision and I didn't get any reasons as well.
"It was kind of looking good for me, talking about it with [Red Bull motorsport advisor] Helmut [Marko] and trying to make it. Then I don't know what has happened as in two or three days, everything went so quickly.
"They signed Kvyat. I didn't understand it. It looked like I was in the right place but in the wrong moment pretty much, from what I understood."
With several other seats available on the grid, Gasly hasn’t given up on his F1 chances yet. However, should he not get a grand prix drive, he is prepared to race elsewhere for a year.
"I'm really disappointed by it, but now it is done and I need to move and move forward," he said. "I'm already looking at the future. Right now, it's quite wide open still in terms of options – you still have many seats left in Formula 1.
"I've talked quite a lot with Helmut this weekend and he knows my target, that I want to make it into Formula 1. We just need to find the best option, the best package, either in F1 or if we can't make it in F1 next year, I do something good to get myself ready for 2018."
When asked about Gasly’s future at Red Bull, team boss Christian Horner said he would remain a part of the family and serve as the test driver for the senior team.
"He will remain with the team," said Horner. "His priority is to try and win the GP2 championship.
"He is very valued and he has been conducting very good work with us. He did the tire test last week, which was how high we regard him."
"In terms of his race program, I don't know but for us he will be test and reserve and conducting a lot of simulation work."
Gasly currently sits second in the GP2 championship, seven points behind Prema teammate Antonio Giovinazzi with one round to go.
by Rachit Thukral