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Gasly insists he’s ready for F1 chance amid Toro Rosso speculation

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RED HOOK, NY – Pierre Gasly feels he is ready to step up to Formula 1 with Toro Rosso in the near future amid ongoing speculation about the Red Bull B-team’s driver plans for 2018.

Gasly won last year’s GP2 title before being sent to the Japanese Super Formula series by Red Bull for 2017 as it opted to continue with its existing Toro Rosso line-up of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat.

Despite Sainz’s reluctance to spend another year with Toro Rosso and ongoing questions about Kvyat’s future, recent reports have suggested Red Bull plans to keep both on for 2018.

Gasly remains relaxed about his future F1 chances, though, saying that things remain fluid and that nothing is official until it is announced.

“For me my target is still the same. At the moment nothing is signed in Toro Rosso,” Gasly told NBC Sports.

“Of course at the moment everyone is talking with everyone, and every week it’s changing. Until it will be official, I think everything is possible.

“Of course my targets stay the same after winning GP2 last year. I just feel like I am ready for F1. I will keep pushing until it happens.”

When asked if he would consider finding a drive outside of Red Bull’s umbrella for 2018 if no opportunity came, Gasly said: “At the moment I’m just focused on F1, and then after we will see in a couple of months what will happen for next year.”

Gasly made his Formula E debut in New York last weekend with Renault e.dams, deputizing for Sebastien Buemi, and recorded two top-10 finishes, including a run to fourth place on Sunday.

“It’s been really exciting, really busy as well since yesterday to learn all the procedures and get used to the car, it’s been a lot of hard work,” Gasly said of his debut outing.

“But I really enjoyed it overall. We managed to score points in both races, we managed to go into Super Pole this morning with the fastest lap of the weekend.

“It’s been really positive with close racing on-track. Both races were good fun. It’s been a good experience.”

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”