Pierre Gasly arrives to team up with Esteban Ocon in Alpine in 2023 when the team finally gets their man; Alpine was turned down by Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri earlier this summer but agreed a deal with Red Bull to release the AlphaTauri driver; AlphaTauri tentatively confirms Nyck de Vries as replacement
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 07/10/22 4:16 pm
Pierre Gasly will race Alpine next season after the French team finally reached an agreement with the AlphaTauri driver to wrap up an F1 transfer saga.
Having been given a seat by incumbent drivers Fernando Alonso (left Aston Martin) and Oscar Piastri (McLaren) next year, Gasly has always been Alpine’s number one target – as reported. Sky Sports F1 in August – and now they’ve landed their man.
Gasly, the always-rated but often overlooked racer who has 103 races and an incredible win under his belt, will form the all-France squad with Esteban Ocon.
“It was a clear call and certainly engaging,” says Gasly, 26 Sky Sports F1. “It’s the right time for me to start my own career and start this incredible story with Alpine.”
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer said: “He brings a lot of experience and speed. “And those are the two things we’re looking for.”
Gasly will leave the Red Bull family for the first time in his F1 career, as Alpine agrees a deal with the team to launch the star of their sister outfit, AlphaTauri. Sky Sports News understand that Alpine is paying Red Bull 10 million euros (£8.8 million).
AlphaTauri now replaces Alpine to have one of three seats available on the 2023 grid, although they are expected to quickly fill the space with Mercedes’ reserve and Williams’ recent impressive sub, Nyck de Vries.
“What’s easy in Formula 1? Nothing is easy!” Gasly said. “I have to admit that I’m so thankful to everyone involved because everyone did their best to make that happen.
“On Red Bull’s side, Christian [Horner, team boss] and Helmut [Marko, team advisor] understand how important this opportunity is for me and my desire is to go there and start this new adventure with Alpine. “
Gasly added: “It’s been a big change in my career. I’m closing a nine-year chapter with Red Bull, having had a lot of success in the younger categories as well as my five years at the Congregation. Formula 1, my first win, on the podium.
“I’m starting a new chapter with Alpine. It’s a new beginning.”
Gasly, who signed a new contract with AlphaTauri for 2023 in June, said he is convinced by Alpine’s form in recent years and their pace this season, with the team now second only to McLaren in the battle for fourth place.
This is the biggest boost of his career since his brief and unsuccessful stint with Max Verstappen at Red Bull in 2019.
Gasly said: “I have one more year left on my contract and it has been signed for next year. “I’ve thought about it and I have to admit right away that I know this is a step in the right direction.”
The end of the Alpine chase… and what it means for the driver market
Alpine’s signing of Gasly would end a remarkable off-road story in Formula 1 – one the team never anticipated.
First, two-time world champion Alonso shocked Alpine by agreeing a deal with Aston Martin, and then an even bigger surprise when Piastri rejected the team’s announcement and kept an eye on McLaren.
Alpine fought hard to keep the Australians but lost the Contract Recognition Board hearing, leaving them without a driver in 2023.
While openly floundering in that chase, the team was rewarded with the most competitive seats available on the market and plenty of potential suitors. But although Daniel Ricciardo’s name was immediately linked and Alpine tested three younger drivers in August, Gasly was always their preferred choice.
“It could start as early as August and here we are in October, so it has its ups and downs and its ups and downs,” Szafnauer said. “But we got there. We’ve been working to deliver for him and it’s going to be great next year.”
Red Bull agrees to release Gasly, but only if they have a suitable replacement at AlphaTauri.
F1 contract: Who will drive where in 2023?
|Red Bull||Max Verstappen||Sergio Perez|
|Ferrari||Charles Leclerc||Carlos Sainz|
|Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||George Russell|
|Alpine||Esteban Ocon||Pierre Gasly|
|McLaren||Lando Norris||Oscar Piastri|
|Alfa Romeo||Valtteri Bottas||Zhou Guanyu|
|Aston Martin||Fernando Alonso||Lance Stroll|
The team initially targeted IndyCar’s famous Colton Herta – whose F1 dream was chipped by a lack of super points – before turning their attention to De Vries.
The fact that Gasly has now been confirmed means that an announcement is about to be signed by him.
The other seats left on the market are those of Haas, who is weighing whether to keep Mick Schumacher, and at Williams, with American Logan Sargeant being the favorite there.