Pierre Gasly says his experiences from racing in Japan’s Super Formula series could give him a useful boost while getting up to speed in his second Formula 1 race.

The Toro Rosso driver, who replaced Daniil Kvyat in Malaysia to make his Grand Prix debut, has spent 2017 racing in Super Formula and currently sits second in the drivers’ championship just half a point off leader Hiroaki Ishiura ahead of the double-header season finale in two weeks time.

While it remains uncertain whether the French driver will contest the Super Formula final round or retain his F1 race seat for the United States Grand Prix – as the two events clash – Gasly is confident the experience gained in Japan this year has improved his technical knowledge and race craft.

“I think it [Super Formula] is one of the closest cars to a Formula 1 car - it's definitely really competitive cars with a lot of downforce,” Gasly said. “It's very powerful and it's a light car overall, the car is less than 600 kilos and it makes it very fast in the corners, especially high speed corners.

“Carlos [Sainz] asked me during the briefing what were the lap times in Super Formula at Suzuka. We were doing like 1:35 in the winter which I think is almost four or five seconds from the F1 pole lap in the last few years. It's definitely a quick car and I did enjoy driving it this year.

“I think on the technical aspect I'm much better now. I had to get involved much more than when I was in GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5. They have a different way of working, of setting the car up and I felt that I had to be really over everything because I wanted to be aware of everything. I went a bit more deeply into all the technical aspects of the car and I think I did grow up on this side.”

Gasly finished his F1 debut at the Malaysia GP a creditable 14th place but is aiming to improve upon that this weekend at Suzuka – where he raced in April for the Super Formula season opener finishing 10th.


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