Alpine boss reveals hilarious incident during Pierre Gasly negotiations

Pierre Gasly will replace Fernando Alonso at Alpine next season after the Spaniard became disgruntled with the team’s reliability woes.

Alpine’s hunt for a Fernando Alonso replacement ahead of the 2023 season was complicated to say the least, with their number one candidate signing a contract with a rival behind their backs.

Academy driver Oscar Piastri was announced as Esteban Ocon’s partner for 2023 but the Australian sensationally joined McLaren after the Contract Recognition Board came to the verdict that Piastri’s contact did not force him to race for Alpine.

Otmar Szafnauer and his team then switched their attention to trying to pry the talented Pierre Gasly away from the struggling AlphaTauri, knowing that getting the Frenchman away from the Red Bull system would not be an easy task.

The Alpine boss has now revealed his slightly comedic conversation with AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost when enquiring about the availability of the driver, who eventually signed for Alpine after a reasonable price was negotiated for his release.

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“I called Franz to say, can you release him?” said Szafnauer in conversation with GPFans.

“Franz said ‘No’, and so I said, ‘Well, great, I’m glad you say that’, because the last thing I wanted to hear is, ‘Yes, I can’t wait to get rid of this guy’.

“He said, ‘No, I need him. He’s a great driver. I don’t want to’.

“I said ‘Thank you. With all due respect, do you mind if I call Helmut [Marko]? He might have a different perspective’. So I called Helmut.”

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While Red Bull clearly did not want to see one of their most talented drivers leave, Gasly has thanked his former employers for recognising that he had earned his move and for not standing in the way of his Alpine transfer.

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The Frenchman will partner fellow countryman Esteban Ocon in 2023 and despite the pair having their issues with each other in the junior categories, both drivers have claimed that they expect a harmonious relationship at Alpine.

Both drivers provide proven quality and potential, meaning they sync up with Alpine’s aims and timelines to come regular podium challengers in the next couple of year, particularly looking to take advance of the new engine regulations when they come into effect in 2026.

Both drivers also have a single win to their name, with Gasly winning in Monza and Ocon winning in Hungary, proving that both drivers are capable to scoring massive results for Alpine in 2023.