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'Team Verstappen' a tough spot for Gasly - Villeneuve

'Team Verstappen' a tough spot for Gasly - Villeneuve

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'Team Verstappen' a tough spot for Gasly - Villeneuve

'Team Verstappen' a tough spot for Gasly - Villeneuve

Pierre Gasly needs to hit the ground running and look good alongside Max Verstappen in 2019, although it will be difficult in a Red Bull team that is now more focused than ever on the Dutchman, according to 1997 Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve.

Daniel Ricciardo's shock switch to Renault opened up a spot for Gasly to make the step-up to Red Bull in just his second full season in F1.

The Australian's decision was reported to have been partly based on a growing focus on Verstappen, with Red Bull keen to see the 21-year-old become F1's youngest champion – something he can achieve in 2019 and 2020.

Red Bull is 'Team Verstappen'.Jacques Villeneuve

Villeneuve says Red Bull's attention falling onto Max will make it tricky for Gasly to make an immediate impression.

"For Gasly, the only goal is to compare himself to Max Verstappen," Villeneuve told La Presse.

"That will be difficult because Red Bull is 'Team Verstappen', but he has his chance and it's up to him to stand out at this level."

However, Villeneuve admitted that a big question mark looms over Red Bull's performance for 2019.

"There could be a surprise, but it's been four years that people expect surprises from Honda," he said.

Another former driver who isn't sure about Red Bull-Honda's chances is Mika Hakkinen.

"Looking at the results of the tests and what Renault have done with the performance of their engine, I think they are in very good shape," he is quoted by AS newspaper.

"I wonder if Red Bull made the right decision. It will be very interesting to find out."

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