Whilst Formula One’s Alpine team haven’t handled their driver contracts particularly well, the French owned outfit has delivered a quick car in 2022. The team are currently the best of the rest behind the top 3 recently overtaking the difficult to drive McLaren cars. The drama over Alpine losing two drivers in two days is not over and the team need to recruit a team mate for Esteban Ocon for 2023.
Given Daniel Ricciardo is set to be replaced by Alpine’s Oscar Piastri the no brain solution for Alpine is to re-recruit the Aussie ace and hope he can regain his previous for when driving for Enstone in 2020 where he came 5th in the driver’s championship.
However another contender is waiting in the wings. Frenchman, Pierre Gasly
Gasly came through the ranks as part of the Red Bull. Junior driver academy winning GP2 in 2016. He debuted for the Red Bull junior team in Malaysia 2017 replacing Russian driver Daniil Kvyat.
Following the departure of Daniel Ricciardo from the big Bull team Gasly was promoted to join Max Verstappen in 2019. However, poor results saw him swapped back to the junior team and a switch with Alex Albon.
Albon was released at the end of 2020 and Gasly may have hoped for a second chance to drive along side Max. Particularly because he had won the 2020 Italian GP in Monza for Alpha Tauri.
However., Red Bull Racing recruited Sergio Perez instead which meant Gasly’s hopes of racing in the senior team were probably finished for good.
Alpha Tauri are not particularly competitive this season, languishing 8th in the F1 constructors table with just 27 points after 13 races.
Yet, this may prove to be a silver lining for Gasly and AT’s current cloud. The Frenchman has a release clause in his contract should another team who are higher than Alpha Tauri make him an offer.
Cleary Alpine fit the bill.
Further, another Frenchman driving for the French owned team is a good nationalistic fit.
The decision for Alpine will probably come down to Ricciardo or Gasly. Ricciardo has had a more stellar career and more wins and points than Gasly, but whether his current poor form is McLaren car specific or in general just Ricciardo’s game diminishing is a risk for Alpine.
Pierre Gasly would benefit from a new challenge and a change of environment from the Red Bull culture he has grown up with.
The Formula One contracts board has stated McLaren are allowed to contract with Piastri, so all is left is for Alpine to abandon pursuing their star academy driver, move on and decide who to recruit to replace Fernando Alonso.