AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was seen having a chat with Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko in Baku, presumably to speak about the Frenchman’s next steps in Formula 1.
Gasly was demoted back to junior team Toro Rosso – now AlphaTauri – midway through 2019 after a torrid half season with the Austrian side that year, but his impressive form since then, having scored three podiums and a race win, had put him back in the conversation for a seat at the main fold.
However, Sergio Perez has been equally impressive alongside Max Verstappen, and he was given a new contract before his ninth podium and second win with the team in Monaco.
The Mexican will remain at Red Bull until at least the end of 2024, while Gasly contract with AlphaTauri expires at the end of this year.
The 26-year-old does not have a deal with Red Bull for 2024, and he will have little interest in remaining a part of the programme if there is next to no guarantee that he will climb back up to the Milton Keynes-based team.
Rumours have linked him with Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren drive, and Red Bull are currently trying to find a solution that works for the driver that impressively finished fifth last weekend in Baku.
Gasly is currently keeping his options open amid a “continuous” conversation” with Dr Marko around his future.
“I have spoken with Helmut Marko and more talks will follow to see what is the best solution for the future,” he said.
“Sergio is doing a good job for Red Bull, but it’s a moment in my career when I feel ready for the next step.
“We’ll see what happens, everything is open. I don’t have more to say about it at the moment. It’s a continuous conversation.”
There are no hard feelings with Perez, who very much deserves the seat after finishing on the podium four times this year and helping Red Bull to first in the Constructors’ Standings.
“What I can tell you is to me it is logical, it is not like it was a surprise because I’m a very objective person,” added Gasly.
“Based on what they expect from a second driver Perez ticks all the boxes, he is doing an amazing season, performing very well this season, fast, has some backing financially, has good experience, and is a good fit for the team.
“On the other side the impact it has on my career and with the ambitions I have is obviously affected so that’s what we’re discussing at the moment with Helmut to obviously decide what’s best for all of us, and how do we go forward from there.”
Dr Marko seems keen to keep Gasly around beyond 2023, and AlphaTauri will continue to extend the Frenchman until a Red Bull seat becomes available to him.
Amid the McLaren rumours, the Austrian reiterated that there are not many better options for Gasly than the Red Bull junior squad.
“I don’t think there is an alternative for him at the moment that would be significantly better than AlphaTauri,” remarked Dr Marko.
Gasly is current in his fourth full season with AlphaTauri having made his debut at the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix after Daniil Kvyat was dropped.