Pierre Gasly thinks his impressive 2021 achievements should stand him in good stead to be the “obvious choice” if a place with a bigger team becomes free.
The Frenchman now looks to have outgrown AlphaTauri, with whom he has rebuilt his career so commendably since his ill-fated promotion to Red Bull in 2019.
Dropped back down to the ‘sister’ team, Gasly gained his first F1 race victory at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix and was also on the podium in Baku during the season just ended.
But where the 25-year-old really caught the eye in the latest campaign was in qualifying, for his single-lap pace put him regularly in the first six on the grid – although AlphaTauri as a team often struggled to back up that form on Sundays.
Nevertheless, Gasly finished ninth in the Drivers’ Championship, ahead of Alpine duo Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon whose team scored more points combined than AlphaTauri.
Also, Gasly was only five points behind McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo – and he hopes teams will look at the 2021 scoreboard if they consider a change of driver for the 2023 season.
The obvious switch would be back up again to Red Bull in place of Sergio Perez, now as a more mature and accomplished driver, but he would clearly be open to other offers also.
“I think it’s clearly a key move,” said Gasly, quoted by GPFans, about where he goes next.
“We will have to see what the view of Red Bull is over the next two years because now it’s been eight years I’ve been with them. It’s a long time.
“Obviously, at the moment they have a very competitive car. I need to see what they do with Max [Verstappen] and how they will move forward, but obviously I need to think also about my career.
“I’m still very young, I’m 25, but my goal is to be in the first seat once these guys look at who can be a replacement. At the moment, I’m ninth in the Drivers’ Championship.
“All eight guys ahead of me are the drivers running for the four best constructors. That’s why it’s important for me to show that if there is a free seat, I should be the obvious choice. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
On where his future is likely to be, Gasly added: “First of all, obviously, my priority is with Red Bull, but at the moment they have decided to continue with Sergio.
“I don’t know what they are going to plan. They are saying probably 2023 there could be an option.
“I’ll try to put myself in the best position for that, but it’s a discussion we know we will have next year with Red Bull.”