Johnny Herbert believes Pierre Gasly needs to cut loose from Red Bull to make further progress in his F1 career.
Former F1 driver turned TV broadcaster Herbert says Gasly needs to think about finding another opportunity in Formula 1 by leaving the Red Bull camp.
The French driver, who is under contract with Red Bull until the end of 2023, has been with Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri since being demoted from the Red Bull team in 2019. While Gasly has found pace and confidence to become one of the stars of the midfield, the French driver made it clear his goal has been to find a way back to the senior squad.
However, with Red Bull recently re-signing Sergio Perez on a new two-year deal until the end of 2024, that door is now shut for Gasly.
With Gasly seemingly stuck at AlphaTauri as a result, Herbert believes it is time for him to take a gamble by trying to find a way into a team outside of the Red Bull umbrella.
“I think he’s got to do what Daniel [Ricciardo] did – break away from [Red Bull],” Herbert said on the F1 Nation podcast, referring to when the former Red Bull driver quit the team to join Renault for 2019.
“At the present time, those choices have sort of shrunk a little bit.
“The thing he’s got to try and do is, when that window of opportunity happens, he’s got to have that ability for AlphaTauri, Red Bull, whatever, to say ‘okay, if there’s an opportunity, we are allowing you to go’ because I think that’s so important for him as a racing driver.
“You don’t want to be stuck in the same team, like AlphaTauri, as good a car as they supply him, for the rest of his career.
“We don’t want Red Bull to stop him blossoming in another team. But I think he’s got to have that ability of, when there is that occasion, allowing him to make that choice.”
One possibility could be Aston Martin, given the uncertainty of Sebastian Vettel’s future as the four-time former World Champion’s contract ends at the conclusion of the 2022 season.
Herbert also suggested it could be time for team owner Lawrence Stroll to think about ousting his son Lance from his seat, and that Gasly should be making overtures to the Silverstone-based squad.
“I think he should be straight there already, I think he should already be making enquiries to say ‘yeah, I’m ready, I’m willing to come on board’,” he said.
“I think that’s where drivers sometimes have to make those harsh decisions, if you call it that. But from a career perspective, it would be the right thing for him to do.”
Gasly finished the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in fifth, having had a spirited race against Vettel and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, and Herbert was full of praise for his prowess behind the wheel.
“Pierre has a very, very good ability to be able to place the car. He seems to absorb the pressure he’s been put under when he’s being pushed from behind,” he said.
“But when he’s actually then trying to push to overtake, he’s also got that ability to actually place the car as well. He’s a very well-rounded race driver. I think that’s something we’ve lost in the more recent races, but it was great to see it bounce back [in Azerbaijan].”