How much do you know about Frenchman Pierre Gasly? Yes he drives for Toro Rosso but in this blog I’ll tell you a little bit more about the driver. Pierre comes from Rouen in France and he’s a cool-looking guy. The first time I photographed Pierre was in Malaysia in 2017 when he drove for Toro Rosso.
Here he is very fresh-faced and clean shaven when he rolled up in Melbourne for his driver profile pic that happens at the start of each season – every driver comes down into the paddock, stands in front of this black backdrop and 60 or so photographers take photos of them.
The first time I really communicated with Pierre was just after I put this picture up on my Instagram page. It was taken in Baku and said, “greeting Pierre in the paddock at Baku” and a couple of hours after I put that up on my page I got a message from Pierre saying “Hey I love the picture can I post it on mine” so I sent him a copy and that was the start of my relationship with Pierre.
Most of the time you’ll see him in the paddock with his trainer and his trainers been with him for some years now, this is Pyry Salmela another Finnish trainer and there are several of them in F1.
The other person you might see him with at the moment is Fabiana Valentina, who is the press officer from Toro Rosso. I’ve got a pretty good relationship with Fabiana and I like this photo once again taken back in Azerbaijan.
Now you’ll more than likely see him in the company of Josh Cruz who does a lot of the social media for Toro Rosso at the moment and last year in the paddock in Brazil I found them doing this particular piece to camera.
Joshua was doing it, I was just hanging around waiting for a shot and I got a great shot of Pierre candidly laughing and relaxed. I like this picture so much I printed it and I gave it to Pierre and asked him if he’d sign it which he gladly did and I liked the note he wrote on it “the team was trying to make me say a speech that didn’t make any sense Brazil 2018” and he signed it.
At the start of this year Pierre moved to Red Bull. Partnering max Verstappen was a pretty exciting opportunity for the young fella and with a new team come new press people. Jacques Heckstall-Smith was often seen at Pierre’s side, sometimes it was Jody Porter as they wandered down the paddock to go to different corporate functions but certainly a woman that you see at his side had a lot of races his girlfriend Caterina Masetti Zannini.
Caterina is a real character and a lovely lady – I’m a big fan of hers. You’ll find that she’s often at the races, particularly the European ones – whether they come via boat or perhaps on scooter as was the case here in France he does love a scooter although he doesn’t really like riding on the back of one that’s not a ride that any driver wants to take a photograph to pair a lot this year and they tend to walk in hand-in-hand which is something not too many of the drivers do I’ve also shot them away from the track which is a rare opportunity and you get to see them without logos on their clothing and perhaps more natural as was the case here in a restaurant in Barcelona.
After the summer break Pierre was relegated to Toro Rosso and here’s a shot of him with his lovely mother pascal in the paddock in Germany I’ve met his father lovely man John Jacques never actually taken a photograph of the man so that’s his mum.
Anyway he’s a good friend of fellow countrymen John Eric Verne who races in Formula e and I always like the fact that he’s keen to talk to the young kids on the grid when they come out for the national anthem.
I know Pierre a little bit and that has advantages for me as a photographer, obviously because he’s not shy about looking straight at my lens and that enhances any photo when they when they look straight down the lens of your camera.
Let me quickly run through a handful of photos that I’ve taken of Pierre in the car that I quite like. This shot coming around the final corner in Melbourne, here he is in the red bull. Little tricky shot this one because you’ve got to zoom in at the same time as you pan.
This one is coming onto the main straight in Japan and I quite love these shots where I go down to the back of the grid and capture the cars and people think sometimes that it’s taken mid-race but if you have a look carefully over here you can see a guy in black pants and a white shirt and I’m pretty sure that is a dead giveaway that it was not midway through a race.
Here’s three shots to finish with from Austria – a couple of sparks flying as he’s heading away.
One with the beautiful Austrian flag in both the foreground and background.
And a final Austrian pic with the typical forest that you have in the background and some lovely green grass in the foreground.
So that’s Pierre Gasly a likeable Frenchman I do hope he does well at Toro Rosso he certainly seems a lot more relaxed since he’s made the move back to the team.