Pierre Gasly has said his contract negotiations at Alpine led to a “win-win situation” for him, his new team and Helmut Marko.
Gasly had already been under contract with the Red Bull stable for 2023, set to stay on another year with AlphaTauri before Alpine approached him to replace Fernando Alonso next season, in the wake of junior driver Oscar Piastri’s shock move to McLaren.
But with a factory drive becoming available and Alpine in need of a driver to fill that seat after their initial choice had moved elsewhere, Gasly was who they turned their attentions to.
The Frenchman acknowledged that speaking to motorsport advisor Marko about leaving Red Bull, who had supported his career up to that point through its junior programme, would not be easy – but a deal was eventually made that suited everyone.
“I was in Greece on the first day of the summer vacation. I needed a break because the season wasn’t going my way. I needed to switch off,” Gasly explained to Auto Motor und Sport in Germany about how his Alpine deal came to be.
“On the first day, I had my first contact with Alpine, at that time to Laurent Rossi. I passed everything on to my management.
“The talks started between Alpine, Red Bull, myself. We sounded out what could become of it. A summer in which I wanted to switch off turned into the opposite.
“I was in contact with Formula 1 practically every day, and followed everything. What the situation was, and how the deal was developing.
“As it got closer, it was about the terms of the contract. I knew, of course, Red Bull’s position on wanting to keep me. So I knew it wasn’t going to be easy talks with Helmut, but he understood how important this step was for me. Then we made it work. It was a win-win deal for everyone.
When asked if AlphaTauri were also winners from the deal, Gasly clarified: “A win-win situation for Alpine, Helmut and me.”
Gasly praised Marko’s role in facilitating his move away from Red Bull, with many drivers before him having left the team after moving up through their junior ranks including the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz and Alex Albon beforehand.
Gasly confirmed Alpine had to pay Red Bull a fee to secure his services from next season, as he was not just already under contract at AlphaTauri but for the role Red Bull had played financially in bringing him to Formula 1.
When asked if he was immediately “hooked” on the idea of an Alpine move, Gasly explained: “To be honest, I’m someone who is realistic. I had a contract for 2023, so the possibilities of getting out of there seemed limited, but you can talk about it and find out what’s possible.
“When Helmut was open to talks, I realised that the situation was changing. Red Bull had a financial interest, of course, after they financed my career. So of course they wanted compensation, and to make some more money. It was a reasonable trade.
“For me, it’s an important change in my career. I think I have fulfilled my role at Red Bull and AlphaTauri in the best possible way over the last few years.
“No matter what has gone on, Helmut has acknowledged that and understood me.”