Pierre Gasly ready for a top team: ‘I’m a more complete driver now’

Sam Cooper
Pierre Gasly speaking prior to the Belgian Grand Prix. August, 2021.

AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly speaking ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix. August, 2021.

Pierre Gasly says he believes he is ready for a move to a top team as he is a “much more complete” driver than he was following his stint at Red Bull.

The Frenchman has rebuilt his Formula 1 reputation after being dumped out of Red Bull following just 12 races with the team. He was not the first Red Bull junior driver to find the senior hot-seat a little too hot but has since shown his quality at AlphaTauri.

Since moving back to the team, Gasly has earned two podiums as well as his maiden win in the sport at Monza no less. Such is the work that he is doing that whenever a seat becomes available, Gasly’s name is one of the first to be linked with the vacancy.

That situation occurred recently when the Alpine seat was left vacant following Fernando Alonso’s move to Aston Martin and Oscar Piastri’s public snubbing of the offer. Gasly said it was “fun” to see the speculation because he knows that his situation with Red Bull was clear after they announced Sergio Perez’s contact extension.

“I still have a year left on my contract with them [Red Bull],” Gasly told the Italian edition of Motorsport.com. “I think there were a lot of rumours around my name because Red Bull had not yet announced clearly what was planned with me, at least I think so.

“Because there were so many rumours [about Gasly moving back to Red Bull]. I also talked about it with Helmut [Marko], because beyond the contracts in force, every year we always meet to talk about the future. And he was very clear in telling me that they wanted to keep me in AlphaTauri.

“Once Perez was signed they wanted me to stay here where I am, and we will go on until my contract expires, and next year will be my 10 as a Red Bull driver, which is incredible. After that? We’ll see what happens.”

It has been three years since Gasly last drove for a top team such as Red Bull but he believes he is now more suited to the challenge, describing himself as a “much more complete driver.”

“After only one season in Formula 1 I was promoted to Red Bull, and at that time they gave me a great opportunity because they saw my potential,” the 26-year-old said. “If I think about it now, after five years in Formula 1, I am a much more complete driver.

“I have much more experience, I am more efficient in working with the team, I know exactly what I want from the car, and my feedback is much clearer. You grow and you learn.

“I think I have shown that with a mid-table car I have been able to grow and achieve good results, and with all the respect I have for AlphaTauri, there will always be a gap to a top team. We can achieve a podium, even a win we have shown that it is not impossible, there was a one per cent chance and we did it.

“Last year I think it was a very consistent season, and that’s what I wanted to prove, that I can always be there, in qualifying and in the race, able to bring the team points. And it was my most successful year as a driver in AlphaTauri, and I think it was important to prove that, since I came back to this team, we have put together a series of incredible races, days to remember”.

He has been forced to endure one of his most difficult seasons so far but says he will spend the second half of the season working towards 2023.

“I am already working towards 2023. I know that I will be with AlphaTauri until November 2023, so what I do now is something that will also be useful for next year.

“I’m not saying that we have to give up aiming for big results this year, but I’m aware that every little step, every piece of feedback I can give, every direction I’m pushing the team in, will go to influence next year’s car.

“That’s why I’m looking at it from that perspective, as a driver you always give as much as you can, but it’s undeniable that when you’re fighting for the podium, it’s more fun than when you’re doing it for 15th position.

“Now we’re in a transition period, last year was great, this year is much more difficult, but it’s in these moments that there is a need to be united, and I try to do everything I can in my role, keep the team together, I want and we want to move forward and get back to where we were last year.”