From the moment Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly secured a podium at the Formula Renault 3.5 season opener at Monza, there was a instant feeling that the drinks manufacturer had bagged another future star.
Yet for Gasly, while 2014 would prove to be a positive year in one sense, in another it was disappointing. Or maybe frustrating is a better description.
During a late season charge, the French teenager claimed the runner-up spot at the Jerez finale ahead of Spanish rival Roberto Merhi – helped when Merhi was taken out – however he may rue having not won a race throughout the campaign.
There was often a sense that Gasly was there or thereabouts, but for every 2nd place finish (there were six of them), the Arden International racer was pipped by eventual champion Carlos Sainz Jr, Merhi or Oliver Rowland.
Add two 3rd places into the mix and you have a season record that is nothing to sniff at, but it was becoming clearer as the season drew to a close that the lack of a race win was playing on his mind. “We lost too many points early in the season to be as much of a threat to Carlos for the championship,” said the 18-year-old. Gasly added: “The points [scored] in the second half showed what we could do and I am sure everything I learnt this season will be a big help for my career.”
Despite the lack of a victory, Gasly still viewed the eventual season outcome as a positive one. “It has been a great season, a lot of work from everyone. It certainly wasn’t easy but the guys gave me a great car all year and enabled me to really show what I could do. It was fantastic support and I learnt so much this season. I was racing against people with a lot more experience and we made it a great year, consistently good results, often on the podium.”
Meanwhile, Gasly also joined the troubled Caterham Racing Team in the GP2 Series for the final three rounds, but circumstances played against the French teen. It is believed that Gasly will switch to the GP2 Series full-time in 2015 as Red Bull look like making a return proper to the Formula One weekend feeder.