Felipe Massa believes Pierre Gasly is too good to overlooked by Formula 1’s top teams after Red Bull put an end to the Frenchman’s dream of a promotion.
Dropped by Red Bull after just 12 grands prix in 2019, Gasly returned to the junior team where he showed not only his speed but also his fighting spirit.
With three podiums with the AlphaTauri team, including a win at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, he had hoped that by now he’d be back with Red Bull.
That has not been the case, nor will it be after Red Bull confirmed Sergio Perez for 2023 and 2024.
That means Gasly, while he will stay with AlphaTauri next season, can now begin talks with rival teams for a 2024 race seat.
Asked if he thought the 26-year-old could be in the running for a drive with a high-ranking team, Massa told F1TV: “Yes, I believe so.”
The former F1 driver was impressed with Gasly’s performance in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Qualifying a disappointing P17 after being caught out by a red flag in Q1, Gasly worked his way up to 11th place and only missed out on a points-scoring position by eight-tenths of a second.
“He was really quick the whole weekend,” Massa aid.
“In qualifying didn’t work well because of the strategy and the red flag, things didn’t work in the perfect way.
“But I mean the performances he is showing, for a long time already, he is unbelievable.
“He needs a good car too because he’s showing that he can drive a top car, he’s showing that he can even fight even for victories.”
Gasly’s options for 2024 include staying with AlphaTauri but there will be seats open at Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton out of contract, and also McLaren, with Daniel Ricciardo’s deal expiring after 2023.
Given that he will be out of contract with Red Bull, he need not worry that those ties will deter other teams from speaking with him.
Of course the rumour mill says he may even be able to change teams after this season given that Red Bull have put paid to his chances of a promotion.
However, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has made it clear several times that they have a contract with Gasly for 2023 and like him as AlphaTauri’s lead driver.