Jenson Button and Damon Hill have discussed what the future may have in store for Pierre Gasly – possibly a move to Alpine.
The French driver has arguably outgrown AlphaTauri, where he has rebuilt his career in laudable fashion after being unceremoniously dropped by Red Bull halfway through the 2019 season.
Although never in with a sniff of a podium finish behind the two Red Bulls and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, the 25-year-old isolated himself from the Ferraris and finished over 17 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc.
The 2020 Italian Grand Prix winner has contributed 86 of AlphaTauri’s 106 points this year and is the highest-placed racer in the Drivers’ table outside of Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari or McLaren.
A return to Red Bull does not look on the cards for Gasly any time soon as Sergio Perez has been confirmed for 2022, but is his talent being wasted at their sister team?
Button thinks Gasly should try to join up with a manufacturer because of their financial resources – and that one such team partly based in his homeland would fit the bill.
“He’s not been making any mistakes, he’s just been getting the job done,” the 2009 World Champion told Sky F1.
“We never see him on TV because he drives a lonely race in fourth position in front of both Ferraris, which is really impressive.
“Ferrari have upped their game through this year, there’s a lot of progress they have made, but in the AlphaTauri there’s Pierre Gasly in front of them.”
As for the driver’s next move, Button added: “The problem is, I don’t see him back in a Red Bull, I really don’t. I’m guessing he will have some options at the end of next year but where do you go?
“Alpine, probably, because you really want to be with a manufacturer. That’s the thing.
“Alpine might be behind AlphaTauri at the moment, but that manufacturer should be better in the future – should be – because they have the money to do so.”
Damon Hill thinks a possible hangover from Gasly’s initial spell at Red Bull may well preclude a return to the seat alongside Max Verstappen.
“Nobody’s in any doubt about his ability and what he’s achieved so far, the blip was going to the Red Bull team,” said the 1996 World Champion.
“I’ve said it before, I think it’s a very tough environment in the Red Bull team and younger drivers, I think, don’t have the authority.
“Checo’s gone in there and I think he’s able to hold his own a little bit against the management.”
Planet F1 verdict