Pierre Gasly’s move to the Alpine F1 team could define the rest of his F1 career. Former boss AlphaTauri F1 team principal Franz Tost believes Gasly may have had no future had Red Bull refused to let him go.
As a result of F1’s dramatic driver market twist, Alpine F1 Team finally paid Red Bull to release Pierre Gasly from his contract with AlphaTauri F1 for 2023 and allow him to join Renault’s works team instead. Guthrie’s gratitude was palpable when he did.
With Pierre Gasly having no future at Red Bull and no hope of returning to the senior team that heartlessly ditched him midway through the 2019 season, AlphaTauri was clearly too small for him.
As a result, Pierre Gasly proudly said that he had more chances to fight at the front of the grid and that he was able to take a step forward in his career.
Scuderia AlphaTauri F1 team principal Franz Tost believes the move has given Pierre Gasly more than that. If Red Bull had gotten in Gasly’s way, he believes his career could have been in jeopardy.
“That’s why Red Bull decided to release him from his contract,” Franz Tost told The Race.
“Red Bull decided not to hire him, and Pierre wanted to go to another team.[Sebastian]Vettel retired,[Fernando]Alonso moved to Aston Martin, so things changed. Yes, the Alpine seat was vacant.”
“Red Bull did a very fair thing to let him go to Alpine because otherwise the risk of him not having a seat in 2024 is very high. It was clear to me. Yes. Then all the cockpits will be filled.”
“Accepting Gasly’s departure was not easy, but in the end I think it was a fair decision.”
Franz Tost’s logic is that Pierre Gasly is set to leave Red Bull when his contract expires and there is no guarantee of a good seat.
Some argue that if Pierre Gasly was indeed the Alpine F1 Team’s priority target, the team would have adopted a stopgap solution in 2023 and acquired Gasly in 2024. But it’s dangerous, especially when incumbent drivers shine and deserve longer contracts. That would have left Gasly in the cold.
And if Pierre Gasly intended to leave Red Bull in 2024, where could he go? He wouldn’t have been in the top team seat. As of the summer of 2022, McLaren and Aston Martin had a medium-term deal. So the alternatives were Sauber, Haas or Williams, but each would have had its own priorities as well.
I have seen many good drivers suddenly stop their careers for various reasons. In no particular order, that fate has befallen Esteban Ocon, Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen over the past decade. A good reputation isn’t always enough to help free agents navigate the most turbulent times in the F1 driver market.
Even if Franz Tost slightly overestimated the long-term crisis Pierre Gasly could face, there was no better option than the Alpine F1 Team in 2024. So letting Gasly go is right to assess it as a move in his best interest. Even if Red Bull do us harm.
“We have lost a very experienced driver who brought a lot of success to the team and helped build it,” said Franz Tost. says Tost.
“It’s definitely a loss, no doubt about it.”
One of the key factors in Red Bull’s acceptance was Alpine’s desperate move to acquire Gasly, which is understood to have been paid extremely generously to Red Bull.
But if Franz Tost/AlphaTauri were really fighting, the likes of Helmut Marko and Christian Horner might have kept Pierre Gasly for a year longer.
The Red Bull boss was never a big fan of Pierre Guthrie. Gasly himself said last year that leaving the team was “more difficult than most”.
But Franz Tost had great faith in Pierre Gasly. They had a strong bond.
“I almost had tears in Franz’s eyes when he heard the news,” joked Pierre Gasly.
It was expected that such a bond would make Franz Tost not want to lose the lead driver, but it also motivated him to put Gasly’s interests above his own.
“We have a good relationship,” said Franz Tost.
“Of course, I was disappointed because I expected him to be with me until the end of 2023.”
“But with all the circumstances, I realized that it didn’t make sense to keep him.”
“Otherwise the risk was too high that he might not have a good chance in Formula 1 anymore.”
Category: F1 / Alpha Tauri / red bull / Pierre Guthrie