AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost thinks Red Bull would be reluctant to release Pierre Gasly without a fight if other teams came calling.
Tost believes that if Gasly is to fulfil his potential and become a World Champion, Red Bull will want it to be with them rather than a rival – even though Max Verstappen is their great hope for the present and future.
Gasly re-established his reputation as a rising star last year with a series of strong results for AlphaTauri, capped by an emotional first F1 victory in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
His excellent season came after a 2019 campaign in which he had been promoted to the senior Red Bull team but was dropped back to AlphaTauri – then known as Toro Rosso – halfway through in a ‘job swap’ with Alex Albon.
The Frenchman was overlooked for a return to Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen in 2021 after the Albon move did not work out, Sergio Perez being hired instead.
Speculation has linked Gasly with a future move to Renault’s rebranded Alpine team, paddock whispers having suggested a disagreement had occurred between the driver and Red Bull bigwig Dr Helmut Marko.
But Tost has predicted that if the 24-year-old continues his fine form, Red Bull will not want him to go elsewhere while he can deliver victories, and even a Championship, for them.
“If a driver is competitive like Pierre then yes, of course other teams will ask about the contractual details,” Tost told Autosport. “They will want to know eventually when a driver is available.
“But he has a Red Bull contract and I don’t think Red Bull will give him free at such an early stage.
“They invested a lot of money to build him up and sooner or later, they want to get his fruits back and good results with him – win races and also Championships. We’ll see.”
For 2021, Gasly is the undoubted team leader at AlphaTauri with Daniil Kvyat having been replaced by rookie Yuki Tsunoda – and that status has therefore influenced the direction in which the team will head with their car.
“He is now an experienced driver and a successful driver as well,” Tost said of Gasly. “Any team always is oriented and concentrated to a successful driver.
“What does this mean? The team listens to the technical feedback of the driver and of course as a result of this, the new design of the car [is influenced].
“Let me say it this way – the designers and engineers, they keep the consideration of all technical feedback from such a good driver that they make next year’s car even better.
“This car then fits with the driving style of this driver and to make the car simply faster. That’s the normal way.”