This feature has been produced in partnership with TAG Heuer
Rookie one year, racing for a four-time world championship team the next. It’s the sort of miracle promotion that’s unheard of at the pinnacle of motor racing, but this isn’t a story of any average driver or any average team. This is the inspiring tale of the 23-year-old Frenchman known as Pierre Gasly and his initiation into one of the sport’s most dominant names, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.
A Perfect Time To Seize A Coveted Seat
“Clearly a big step with last year being my first season in Formula One,” admits a modest Gasly. But there appears to be more to him than just modesty. Smart, hungry and being an absolute gun behind the wheel means that he has been able to rise through the ranks of karting and venture straight into the spotlight of the 2019 Formula One season in just a decade. Does it scare the young race driver? Not one bit.
“Before Daniel [Ricciardo] decided to leave it was clearly not in my mind because I was sure he would stay at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. Being in my first year of Formula One, I was just focusing race by race with a dream and target to go Aston Martin Red Bull Racing…but not that quickly,” he laughs.
When Ricciardo made the call management soon came knocking on his door thanks to his heroic efforts in the 2018 season which saw him take some big names in a slower car. It was clear that he was Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s first option and he didn’t get there by accident – he got there by extracting every ounce of driving talent whilst thriving under the pressure.
When there's pressure, I perform even better because you find some extra power inside yourself which pushes you even further than your own limits.
Thriving Under Pressure
Gasly isn’t new to the concept of pressure. He’s had a couple of moments in his life where his performance on Sunday would dictate whether or not he’d have a job on Monday – and he experienced this from the age of thirteen.
“It’s not always smooth and pressure is really high at times – that’s why the TAG Heuer saying of ‘Don’t Crack Under the Pressure’ means something to me.”
His most intense memory was in 2013 during the Euro Championships when he reached a defining stage in his career. At 13-years-old he came to the realisation that if he wanted to continue in the sport, he had no other choice but to win – not podium spots, only the top spot.
He succeeded against the odds by winning the last race of the season which was a title-decider and in the process, also picked up the 500,000 Euro in prize money to help him get to the next series.
“I remember in my very last qualifying I had to make it because I knew it was either my last race in Formula cars, or it could be the beginning of a really cool journey. The pressure was there the whole time and I still manage to get pole and one of the best results of my career.”
This result was enough to grab the attention of Red Bull and from there he was offered a contract and most importantly, a pathway towards the high table he know sits at. Not bad for a guy who was told just three years ago by his team bosses that, “if you want to get to F1 you have to win the title”.
“So yeah, pretty intense and lot of pressure during that year but I still had a great performance,” smiles Gasly.
The TAG Heuer Connection
Even though Gasly has earned himself a chance to show what he’s capable of in one of the sport’s top three teams, he hasn’t lost his grounding yet. In fact he’s still reluctant to see himself as a big enough star of the sport to ask for watches even though he already owns five TAG Heuer timepieces.
“My first TAG Heuer was one the team gave me to wear during the weekend – it was the Monaco and I was the reserve driver at the time. Basically I have one Carrera Heuer 01 and a new TAG Heuer Formula One Edition. And hopefully many more to come,” Gasly laughs.
“I’m still new to the team so I can’t ask for too much. I’ll wait a while and win a few races before I ask for more.”
Luckily Gasly doesn’t need to look far.
Material: Polished steel and ceramic
Dial: Black skeleton with black gold plated luminescent indexes
Water resistance: 100m
Strap: Black rubber
Movement: Calibre Heuer 01
Power reserve: 40 hours
Material: Brushed steel
Case-back: Fine brushed and polished steel
Dial: Blue rhodium plated luminescent indexes
Water resistance: 100m
Strap: Fine-brushed and polished steel
Movement: Calibre 16
Power reserve: 42 hours
Material: Fine-brushed steel
Case-back: Sapphire with Senna special decoration
Dial: Black gold skeleton with rhodium plated luminescent indexes
Water resistance: 100m
Strap: Fine-brushed steel
Movement: Calibre Heuer 02
Power reserve: 80 hours