Pierre Gasly believes his seat with Toro Rosso, to be renamed Alpha Tauri next year, is completely deserved despite being demolished by his teammate during his 12 races as a Red Bull driver.

Off the back of a strong first full season with Toro Rosso last year, the Frenchman was promoted to be Max Verstappen’s teammate in 2019.

But things got off to a bad start when he trashed the team’s test car during testing in Barcelona only weeks before the start of the season. Thereafter he was never comfortable, seemed out of his depth and the demotion followed.

Looking back on his season, Gasly told the Dutch publication Formule1 that he knew Verstappen would be a tough challenge, “I’ve known Max since our time in karting. I know how fast he is on a single lap and in the races. He performed very well during those first twelve races, at the level I expected of him.”

As for himself, 23-year-old Gasly insists he did not come “even close to my level” and although not specific, he has hinted that he did not receive the full backing of Red Bull to up his game, “I think that if we had wanted, we had everything we needed to make it work.”

However, Red Bull demoted Gasly to Toro Rosso, where he will stay next year, and instead put the Thai rookie Alex Albon next to Verstappen.

Gasly said: “For the past seven years I have always been super competitive, except for those six months at Red Bull. That’s why it’s a bit frustrating that we were not able to make the changes that were needed.”

But Gasly is at least grateful that he will still be in Formula 1 in 2020, “Based on the results I have achieved with Toro Rosso since Spa, I think the seat is completely deserved.”

Meanwhile, the Faenza outfit have confirmed the launch date of their 2020 car will be at Red Bull’s Hangar 7 base in Salzburg, Austria, on 14 February.

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