Pierre Gasly believes that his 2019 teammate Max Verstappen will quickly adapt to the Honda power unit next year. Honda will join up with Red Bull as its engine supplier for the 2019 season after spending 2018 with its junior squad, Toro Rosso.
Gasly will join the energy drink squad to replace Daniel Ricciardo, who announced in August that he will be off to Renault for 2019. Gasly, who made his Formula 1 debut just over twelve months ago, will bring knowledge of Honda power with him, having spent the current season running with the Japanese manufacturer.
Honda spent three tough years with McLaren before 2018, and things are looking more positive for the company now. Verstappen, who is yet to drive the Honda power unit, should get the hang of the engine is five or six laps according to Gasly.
In terms of driving, I think Max [Verstappen] will be used to Honda after five, maximum six, laps. The feeling. The response that you feel inside the car. The driveability. All these things. When you are as good as he is in Formula One you do not need much time to that feeling.
“It is more about the way that I have learnt to communicate and work with Honda. It is a different culture. The Japanese culture is very different to the culture in Europe. The way that they work is slightly different and you need to get used to this. This will be a clear advantage for me. But inside the car I do not expect him to take more that five or six laps to get used to it.”
Gasly's partnership with Honda goes back to 2017 when he drove a Honda-powered Team Mugen car in Super Formula: “Super Formula was a great year for me on the track and personally, too,” he said.
“The Japanese have a lot of respect and you really need to understand that. It is all about respect. You can not tell them that they are doing something wrong or that they do it in the wrong way. You must explain it and find a way to lead them to where you want them to go.
“You can not be as straight forward as you can be in Europe with English, French or Italian speakers. You really need to objective with them and find a nice way to explain things. For sure, when you go head to head with them things will turn out in a pretty bad way.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing