Pierre Gasly says he remains fully focused on a graduation to F1 next season with Scuderia Toro Rosso but admits he is no closer to knowing whether Red Bull will indeed promote him.

The reigning GP2 Series champion was tipped to move into F1 this season with Red Bull’s sister team only for Toro Rosso to confirm an unchanged driver line-up of Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat.

Since then, Gasly has maintained ‘match fitness’ competing in the Japanese-based Super Formula series – where he is eighth overall after four races – and returned to the F1 cockpit earlier this month in Hungary with testing duties for the Red Bull Racing team.

As it stands the Frenchman believes he is still a strong contender for a move to F1 with Toro Rosso and is hopeful he will know Red Bull’s decision by the end of August.

“My plan is of course to be with Toro Rosso on the grid, that’s the target, to be on the grid in 2018, so many things are going on at the moment, hopefully it can turn out well for me, of course we need to wait at the moment but definitely the plan is to be on the grid next year

“I don’t have any manager so I speak straight with Helmut Marko and you know he’s really straight forward guy so you know when something happen you basically just call you and say okay that’s done

“At the moment we are having a good relationship at the moment and at you know it’s really busy with the teams, with the engine supplier, many things going between all with the team, bit too early, we are only like beginning of August but definitely I think this month we will hopefully have more news.”

Admitting it is ‘difficult’ to not be competing in F1 after meeting objectives to win the GP2 Series in 2016, Gasly says he has nonetheless stayed focused on preparations should the call come.

“It’s difficult - after winning GP2 last year of course your target is to be in Formula 1, Lewis [Hamilton] has won GP2, Nico [Rosberg] has won GP2, Stoffel [Vandoorne] as well, most of the drivers have been there, ie in football when you win the second league then after you aim for the first one and that’s the same for me, that’s my only motivation at the moment.

“I do a year as reserve driver for Red Bull, also useful for me, really focusing on my physical condition to be as much ready as possible and hopefully when I will have my opportunity I will be at my best and be able to perform but at the moment we need to wait and see what’s going to happen.”

Though Red Bull is expected to try and retain Sainz for 2018, the Spaniard has suggested he would be prepared to consider alternative offers if a path towards an eventual seat at the more competitive Red Bull Racing team is not made clearer.

Alternatively, Gasly could yet replace Kvyat, who has once more struggled for form in 2017 having scored a mere 4 points to Sainz’s 35 coming into the summer break.



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