Pierre Gasly’s name had been well known in F1 circles for some time prior to his mid-2017 race debut with Toro Rosso, particularly after he won the 2016 GP2 title in dramatic style at the Abu Dhabi season finale.
Born in Rouen, France on February 7, 1996, Gasly comes from a family of motorsport enthusiasts. His grandfather was a karter, while his father tried his hand at various racing disciplines.
The young Pierre also began his career in karts, where he competed from 2006 to 2010 before making his single-seater debut in the French F4 championship, where he finished third overall in an impressive 2011 maiden season.
He moved up to 2-litre Formula Renault the following year, going on to win the title in 2013, by which time Red Bull had spotted his talents and signed him up to their junior driver programme. A move into Formula Renault 3.5 followed, and he was runner-up to a certain Carlos Sainz in 2014.
The 2015 season brought a promotion to GP2 (now F2), as well as his first official taste of Formula 1 machinery, with tests for both Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing in his role as the latter’s F1 reserve driver.
In 2016 Gasly became a GP2 frontrunner, with four wins and nine podiums for Prema Racing taking him to a narrow title triumph over fellow F1 hopeful Antonio Giovinazzi.
With Red Bull unable to slot him into an F1 race seat, Gasly headed east for 2017 and the highly competitive Japanese Super Formula Championship. And when Toro Rosso announced in September that he would replace Daniil Kvyat for the Malaysian Grand Prix, he was second in the standings, just half a point off the series lead.
He forewent the chance to race in the United States Grand Prix in order to contest the Super Formula season finale, but his trip back to Japan proved in vain as the meeting was abandoned early due to heavy weather.
That title lost, his consolation came with another four F1 outings in 2017's closing rounds - and then confirmation of a full-time race contract with Toro Rosso for 2018.