AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly maintains that he would like to open up a discussion with Red Bull about a possible drive with them in the near future.
The Frenchman debuted for Toro Rosso – AlphaTauri’s former guise – at the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix, contesting five of the last six races of the season as he missed the US Grand Prix to carry out his Super Formula duties.
He scored five points finishes in the 2018 season, out-qualifying Kiwi team-mate Brendon Hartley 13 times as he secured a 15th-placed championship finish but, more importantly than that, a seat at Red Bull for 2019.
It was a dream come true for Gasly, but it quickly turned into a nightmare as he appeared to succumb to the mental pressure of driving alongside Max Verstappen, and he was dropped midway through the season following a torrid 12 races.
Since his return to the junior squad though, the 25-year-old has managed three podiums, including a victory at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, and his consistent, scintillating performances in the midfield will have gone some way towards convincing Red Bull that he is deserving of another chance.
But it would appear that the Milton Keynes side are still cautious as to whether they want to once again put him in a position where his performances are not satisfactory enough for the team, which would not only cost Red Bull points, but would also serve as a detriment to his career.
Sergio Perez was retained by the four-time constructors’ champions after taking victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last year, and his sublime defending against Sir Lewis Hamilton in Turkey and Abu Dhabi was instrumental to his team-mate’s title victory.
The Mexican has improved further in the early part of this season, scoring two podiums in each of the last two races, and it might have been more if not for a reliability failure in Bahrain and an untimely Safety Car in Saudi Arabia, which cost him the race win.
The door, for now, is closed on Gasly at Red Bull, but seeing some of the names he grew up racing with succeeding at top teams on the grid is galvanising him to want to break into the Milton Keynes-based team’s setup for a second time.
“I see Charles in a Ferrari, I see Max in the Red Bull, George in the Mercedes, Lando in the McLaren – I’ve been fighting with these guys all my career,” he told RaceFans.net.
“I know that’s where I belong and I want to get my chance to be in this position as well.”
The Rouen-born driver has made no secret of the fact that he wants to join Red Bull when his contract with AlphaTauri expires at the end of next season, and Dr Helmut Marko has affirmed that he will make a decision on next year’s Red Bull line-up “by the summer.”
Of course Gasly would like to be announced as a Red Bull driver next year, but he is adamant that his focus needs to remain on the task at hand at the Faenza-based team.
“This is a conversation we need to have that we didn’t have yet. Right now, I probably think it might be too early, because it’s also only 2022 and the focus is on making the best season possible with AlphaTauri,” he explained.
“But I’m sure there are going to be conversations and see what’s good. I know they are happy with the way it works for them at the moment and that also works for me.”
The three-time podium finisher acknowledges that Perez is doing a marvellous job in the main fold, but he also maintains that he has to look after his own interests and try to land a seat in the most competitive car possible.
“Checo is doing very good there, so it makes sense,” he said.
“But then, at the end of the day, I also need to look at my own career and what’s best for me, what will give me the most chances to achieve my personal goals, which is to be a world champion over the next few years.”
Perez is out of contract at the end of 2022, and he affirmed over the winter that he is looking for a “longer stay” at the team.