After weeks of waiting, it’s finally been confirmed that Pierre Gasly will race for Alpine next season, with the Frenchman having signed a multi-year deal with the Enstone-based team.
Gasly’s departure from AlphaTauri comes on the back of six seasons at the Faenza-based team, where he’s gone on to claim three podiums, which includes, his one and only Formula 1 victory at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.
The partnership was successful, but ultimately, it’s time for the 26-year-old to pursue other options, with Alpine set to allow the driver to hopefully challenge in or around the top six on a much more frequent basis.
His replacement has already been announced, with Mercedes reserve Nyck de Vries having been confirmed as Yuki Tsunoda’s team-mate for 2023.
The move to Alpine means there will be a potentially uncomfortable reunion for Gasly and Esteban Ocon, who have previously spoken on their rivalry.
Gasly and Ocon started their racing career together in karts, before moving up the junior categories where their relationship seemingly broke down.
According to ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher, the pair fell out after Gasly ‘stole’ Ocon’s girlfriend, something neither Frenchman has ever confirmed or denied.
Gasly has in the past put his rivalry with Ocon down to the current Alpine driver having become unhappy when the AlphaTauri driver beat him, something which sounds somewhat petty!
Whilst the true nature of their relationship is unknown, Ocon shared a beautiful message on Twitter shortly after Alpine’s announcement, which included, a photo of the pair seemingly at the Japanese Grand Prix and another as youngsters.
“We were just two little kids from Normandy with an impossible dream,” Ocon wrote on Twitter.
“Welcome to the Alpine family Pierrot, let’s make our team and country proud.”
It’s incredible that the French team will be the home of two French drivers who are both from the same province in the country, making it an even bigger disappointment that there is no French Grand Prix on the calendar for 2023.
The duo’s record is actually very similar, with Ocon having also claimed just the one race victory whilst also being the same age.
The 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix winner has actually stood on the podium one time less currently; however, depending on the weather conditions on Sunday, Ocon could be an outsider for the rostrum at Suzuka.
The Frenchman qualified a superb P5 in Japan, astonishingly ahead of both Mercedes’.
Gasly, on the other hand, was eliminated in Q1 and will start from P17, following a brake issue.