Helmut Marko has suggested staying at AlphaTauri in the medium term could be the best option available to Pierre Gasly, with Red Bull off limits.
The Mexican’s future has been cemented as a reward for his strong start to the season in which he has joined his team-mate Max Verstappen at the front of the field, clearly finding the new RB18 car a better fit for his driving style than the RB16B when he joined the team last season.
As a result, Perez is now among a trio of drivers, completed by Charles Leclerc, who have pulled away at the top of the World Championship standings.
In contrast, Gasly is enduring a disappointing time of it at AlphaTauri this term. After a fine 2021, he has scored only six points so far, which is five fewer than his less experienced team-mate, Yuki Tsunoda.
Although it looked last year as though the Frenchman had outgrown Red Bull’s ‘sister’ squad, with a move to a bigger team an obvious next step, Marko is not convinced that prospect is now on the cards.
Gasly, who is under contract until the end of 2023, struggled badly when promoted to Red Bull for 2019 and was dropped to Toro Rosso – now AlphaTauri – in a swap with Alex Albon after just half a season.
“Before Perez signed his contract, of course I spoke to Gasly,” said Marko during a video interview with formel1.de.
“We have to see what happens after 2023. What is the alternative for him? I don’t think at the moment there is an alternative that would be significantly better than AlphaTauri.”
Of course, it is not only Gasly who is affected by Perez’s extended stay with Red Bull.
It also puts in place a glass ceiling for the Red Bull junior drivers currently trying to further their careers in Formula 2, with the leading candidates being Jehan Daruvala, Juri Vips, Liam Lawson and Dennis Hauger.
Perez, of course, was the rare occurrence of Red Bull signing a driver from outside their own development programme.
“If you look at Red Bull’s history, there is one particular characteristic that sets us apart – our continuity and planning ahead,” added Marko.
“So we wanted to be clear about the next few years.”