Pierre Gasly will replace Daniel Ricciardo as Max Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate in 2019.
22-year-old Gasly, currently in his first full season of F1 at Red Bull’s junior outfit Toro Rosso, described his promotion as “a dream come true”.
The French youngster will fill the vacancy which opened when Ricciardo stunned the former world champions by announcing he will leave for engine suppliers Renault next season.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has described Gasly as “one of the most exciting young drivers in motorsport.”
“I’m so excited to be joining this top team,” said Gasly. “It has been my goal to race for this team since I joined the Red Bull Junior Driver Programme in 2013, and this incredible opportunity is another step forward in my ambition to win Grands Prix and compete for World Championships.
“Red Bull has always looked to fight for championships or victories and that’s what I want. I’m a really competitive guy and when I do something it’s always to fight for the best and top positions.”
Since Ricciardo confirmed his exit to Renault at the start of the season, Fernando Alonso has announced he will sit out F1 2019 with Carlos Sainz taking his place at McLaren.
It means that when the season resumes this weekend with the Belgian GP, four drivers – Gasly, Sainz, Ricciardo and Alonso – will be driving in seats they will vacate in 2019.
While Sainz, another Red Bull junior, was also in the frame to replace Ricciardo, his difficult relationship with Verstappen when the pair were team-mates together at Toro Rosso made Gasly the favourite to take the seat.
With Verstappen still just 20, and Gasly only turning 23 in February, Red Bull will start the season with one of the youngest driver line-ups in the sport next season.