It may seem like it to him right now, but another year at AlphaTauri wouldn’t be the end of the world for Pierre Gasly.
Like every driver, Gasly wants to fight for wins and titles, and it’s a simple fact that he’ll never be able to do so with his current team.
Given that, you may think that the sooner he can leave for another one the better, and he may think that too, but it’s not quite that simple.
🚨 CONFIRMED: Pierre Gasly will race for AlphaTauri in 2023 🚨
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) June 18, 2022
Gasly was immensely impressive in 2021, and yet had to stay at AlphaTauri for the 2022 campaign.
Gasy may well be immensely impressive in 2022, but it now seems that he’ll have to stay at AlphaTauri for the 2023 campaign.
“He will be a driver of us, of Scuderia AlphaTauri in 2023,” team principal Franz Tost told the press in Canada.
“It is 100% confirmed… He has a valid contract, there’s nothing to say more.”
It’s easy to see why this might be hugely frustrating news for the 26-year-old.
As we already said, he wants to fight at the very front, and AlphaTauri are one of the few teams that are guaranteed to never do so given their status as Red Bull’s understudy.
While they often have a stronger car than many competitors, they have a lower ceiling than all of them.
Given this, they’re pretty low down the list of teams a driver as talented and ambitious as Gasly would want to be at, especially with no seats opening up at Red Bull any time soon.
He feels that he’s earned the chance to be in a top car with his impressive performances, and knows he’ll never get one where he is.
While the Frenchman has quite clearly been eager to move for a good while now though, being forced to stay for another year may well end up being a blessing in disguise for him.
The bigger picture
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) July 3, 2021
If Gasly was able to leave AlphaTauri at the end of this season, he wouldn’t exactly be spoilt for choice when it came to new teams.
None of those that have the considerable resources needed to build a title-challenging car have a guaranteed opening as of yet, and while that may change at a few teams, they’re hardly the most appealing ones for him.
Perhaps the seat most likely to open is Sebastian Vettel’s at Aston Martin, with it seeming very much plausible that the German will decide to retire at the end of this year.
The British outfit definitely has more potential than Gasly’s current team, but there’s been little reason to think they’ll ever actually fulfil that potential, with the AMR22 being one of the two slowest cars on the grid this year more often than not.
With Fernando Alonso set to stick around at Alpine, the only other spot that could become available with a team that could feasibly become a frontrunner in the near future would be Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren seat.
However, while recent comments from Zak Brown have suggested the team and the struggling Aussie could part ways a year early, it still seems unlikely, and Brown would be extremely interested in the IndyCar pair of Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta if they did.
In short, if Gasly was looking for a new team for 2023, his options wouldn’t be great, but that won’t be the case again this time next year.
There’s a good chance that Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso will call it a day at the end of the next campaign, and that would free up dream spots for the Frenchman.
One would be with Mercedes, the sport’s most successful team in the past decade who will no doubt get back to winning ways sooner rather than later.
And the other would be with Alpine, a works team that is showing real signs of progress and has a wealth of resources.
Sure, Oscar Piastri is most likely to replace Alonso there, but Esteban Ocon is arguably the man most likely to replace Hamilton. If he did, a free seat at Alpine would remain; if he stayed, the Mercedes one would be up for grabs.
Either way, Gasly will most likely have much better options then than he would have this year.
More of the same
🗣️ Pierre Gasly on wanting to be the top team's obvious choice: “All eight guys ahead of me are the drivers running for the four best constructors. It’s important for me to show that if there is a free seat, I should be the obvious choice. That’s what I’m trying to do.”#F1 pic.twitter.com/8F3w1OaoDm
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) December 27, 2021
The AlphaTauri man would do well to keep such opportunities in mind for the next year or so.
Stuck driving for a team unable to match your ambitions, it would be easy to lose motivation and allow your performance levels to drop as a result, but he can’t let that happen.
Right now, he’s one of the hottest properties on the grid thanks to how well he’s driven in the past few years.
If he maintains that level of performance, he’ll be high up, maybe even at the top, on Mercedes’ and Alpine’s lists when they need to fill a seat. On such a strong grid though, should his impressive drives dry up, so too will interest in his services.
He may not get much glory for the next two years, but if keeps doing what he’s been doing since returning to AlphaTauri, what comes after that could more than make up for it.