Scuderia Toro Rosso has confirmed new driver Pierre Gasly will race with car number 10 for his Formula 1 career, as the Frenchman makes his debut this weekend in place of Daniil Kvyat.
Gasly will be the second driver to use No. 10 since F1’s move to a permanent driver numbering system ahead of the 2014 season, with Kamui Kobayashi having been the first at Caterham. But a driver only has the rights to the number for a two-year period afterwards, then it becomes available again.
The Frenchman will race at least at Malaysia this weekend and then in Japan the following weekend, and the latter event should be good for him considering he’s raced in Japan all season in Super Formula. He’s raced at both the Sepang and Suzuka circuits previously, a rarity for most F1 debutantes.
“I am not worried, I am excited about making my debut in Sepang this weekend,” Gasly said. “I have worked hard to prepare for this and to get to F1. I am very happy to have this opportunity. I know it will be different to anything I’ve done before and the other drivers have been racing all season, so I will have a lot of things to get used to and learn about.
“It’s a super challenge and I can’t wait for it to start. I have raced in Sepang. It was last year, when I took pole position for the GP2 race, so clearly it’s a track I like. It is very tough with the high level of humidity but I am well prepared physically.”
As for Suzuka? “As I am racing in Japan this year, I first came to Suzuka this winter, for some Super Formula series testing. It wasn’t much, just two half days. Then I had the first round of the season here. It’s a really impressive circuit, with some incredible high speed parts and the fantastic first sector.
“It is now one of my favorite tracks, even though it also has a sad place in my heart because of what happened to Jules (Bianchi) in 2014. I have enjoyed my time in Japan. In fact, I find myself liking it more and more, especially because of their culture and the way the people are, so polite and how they treat one another. It’s nice and yet so different to anything I have experienced before. I have enjoyed discovering it and now I look forward to my F1 race weekend there.”