Gasly to Red Bull: Vettel, Verstappen and the drivers who took their Toro Rosso chance

A look at the drivers who swapped Toro Rosso for Red Bull as Pierre Gasley treads the same path.

Sebastian Vettel during his Toro Rosso days.   -  Getty Images

It's one of the most famous advertising slogans in the world, that Red Bull "gives you wings".

And the Formula One team that bears the energy drink giant's name has certainly given flight to its fair share of careers in the sport.

Pierre Gasly is the latest driver to be plucked from junior team Toro Rosso and given his chance at the front of the grid, having been confirmed as Daniel Ricciardo's replacement from 2019 on Monday.

But what became of the other men who trod the same path? You might have heard of a few of them!



Vettel joined Toro Rosso during the team's second season in F1 and put on an excellent display to finish fourth in just his sixth race at the Chinese Grand Prix, having started down in 17th. A race victory - Toro Rosso's only win to date - followed in Italy the following season, as Vettel finished ahead of both Red Bull drivers in the drivers' championship. The German was a ready-made replacement for David Coulthard when the Scot retired at the end of the 2008 season and his arrival marked the beginning of a period of dominance for Red Bull. Vettel finished second to Jenson Button in the 2009 championship but went on to win the next four drivers' titles in a row. A disappointing 2014 would be Vettel's final season with the team before leaving for Ferrari, but his success was all the evidence Red Bull needed that the policy of promoting from within was one that could bring great reward.

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Ricciardo is the man whose move to Renault opened the door for Gasly to make the step up and his Red Bull journey in F1 started in 2011, when he was named test driver for Toro Rosso. The Australian spent the second half of that season driving for the short-lived HRT team before landing a Toro Rosso race seat, managing 13 top-10 finishes across two seasons with the junior team. Red Bull bosses saw enough promise to offer Ricciardo a drive with the senior outfit following the departure of compatriot Mark Webber and he became a consistent performer during his five-year stint. Ricciardo has twice finished third in the drivers' standings and, with nine races of his Red Bull career still to go, has racked up seven career wins, including this season's Monaco Grand Prix.


Kvyat will certainly be viewed as the weak link in this list of drivers who have taken their chance and gone on to great things in F1, but it is too easy to forget that he outperformed Ricciardo in his only full season as a Red Bull driver. But he was ditched in favour of bright young upstart Max Verstappen four races into the 2016 season, being relegated back to Toro Rosso. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Russian, who had been phased out completely by the end of the following campaign as Gasly was given his first experience of F1.

RELATED | Gasly to replace Ricciardo at Red Bull next season


Verstappen became the youngest driver in F1 history when he drove for Toro Rosso at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix as a 17-year-old and he quickly became one of the sport's star attractions. Ten top-10 finishes in his maiden campaign and three in the opening four grands prix of the 2016 season earned him a fast-track promotion to a Red Bull seat and his win on debut at the Spanish Grand Prix is one of the standout moments of recent years, while his performance in the Brazilian rain later that year ranks as one of the great drives. Those displays saw him tipped as a future world champion, but he has had to iron out the more reckless and impulsive sides of his driving style of late and will now have to contend with the presence of another young prodigy in the Red Bull garage.

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