While the Alpine Formula 1 team hasn’t handled its driver contracts particularly well, the French team has delivered a fast car in 2022. The team is currently the best of the rest behind the top 3 which recently overtook the tough-to-drive McLarens. The drama over Alpine losing two drivers in two days is not over and the team must recruit a teammate for Esteban Ocon for 2023.
With Daniel Ricciardo set to be replaced by Alpine’s Oscar Piastri, the simple solution for Alpine is to recruit the Aussie ace again and hope he can find his past when driving for Enstone in 2020 where he finished 5th in the Drivers’ Championship.
However, another contestant is waiting in the wings. French, Pierre Gasly
Gasly rose through the ranks as part of Red Bull. The junior drivers academy won GP2 in 2016. He made his debut for the Red Bull junior team in Malaysia in 2017 as a replacement for Russian driver Daniil Kvyat.
Following Daniel Ricciardo’s departure from the big Bull team, Gasly was promoted to join Max Verstappen in 2019. However, poor results saw him return to the junior team and a switch to Alex Albon.
Albon came out at the end of 2020 and perhaps Gasly was hoping for a second chance to ride alongside Max. Notably because he had won the 2020 Italian GP at Monza for Alpha Tauri.
However, Red Bull Racing signed Sergio Perez instead, meaning Gasley’s hopes of racing for the senior squad were likely over for good.
Alpha Tauri has not been particularly competitive this season, languishing 8th in the F1 constructors’ table with just 27 points after 13 races.
Still, this may prove to be a silver lining for Gasly and AT’s current cloud. The Frenchman has a release clause in his contract should another team superior to Alpha Tauri make him an offer.
Cleary Alpine does the trick.
Alpine will legalize the Piastri contract
Moreover, another Frenchman who drives for the French team is a good nationalist candidate.
The decision for Alpine will probably come down to Ricciardo or Gasly. Ricciardo has had a brighter career and more wins and points than Gasly, but whether his current poor form is specific to the McLaren car or in general Ricciardo’s game is declining is a risk for Alpine.
Pierre Gasly would benefit from a new challenge and a change of environment from the Red Bull culture he grew up with.
The Formula 1 contract committee has said that McLaren is cleared to enter into a contract with Piastri, so all that remains is for Alpine to drop the pursuit of its star academy driver, move on and decide who to recruit to replace Fernando Alonso.
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