Helmut Marko suggests Pierre Gasly was lucky to receive a pay rise, says ‘he’s free from 2024’

Pierre Gasly is contracted with Scuderia AlphaTauri until the end of 2023.

Pierre Gasly’s desire to return to Red Bull Racing appears to be unachievable, with Red Bull chief advisor Dr Helmut Marko appearing to suggest that the Austrian side would be prepared to let him leave the Red Bull programme.

Gasly has been part of the Red Bull family for the majority of his career, after being a Red Bull junior driver on his way through the single-seater ranks.

Once he made it to Formula 1 with Scuderia AlphaTauri (called Toro Rosso at the time), the Frenchman looked like the real deal.

At the end of his rookie season, he was chosen as Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen; however, after just 12 races, Gasly was dropped by the Austrian side.

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The Frenchman swapped places with Alex Albon, who was driving for AlphaTauri at the time.

Since moving back to where he started his F1 career, Gasly has excelled.

He’s claimed podium finishes and, most notably, a race victory, coming at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.

Gasly has cemented his place as AlphaTauri’s team leader and signed a new contract with the team, which will see him drive for Red Bull’s sister team until at least the end of 2023.

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Despite his strong performances, it appears that Marko still doesn’t rate Gasly highly, after admitting that from 2024 “Gasly is free”.

Marko revealed that Gasly’s young team-mate Yuki Tsunoda is just as fast as the Frenchman, almost suggesting that there is no need to keep Gasly onboard.

“Yes. We have a good relationship. As a team leader, he has been very successful at AlphaTauri in recent years,” Marko told the French edition of Motorsport.com.

“But Yuki [Tsunoda] is already at his level in terms of lap speed. In the race, things are not going as well [as in prior seasons for Gasly].

“Nevertheless, we improved Gasly’s contract financially, even though we didn’t have to do that.

“Perez’s contract prevents a move for Gasly to Red Bull Racing in 2023. From 2024, Gasly is free.”

Gasly has made his feelings known that he wants to return to Red Bull, with the sensation being that the Frenchman believes he has unfinished business with the team.

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However, whilst Marko accepts that Gasly is now “more solid”, he still refers to the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix where Gasly was lapped by Verstappen.

“Gasly was lapped by Max in Hungary in 2019,” Marko recalled.

“He’s certainly more solid, he has a lot more confidence. But to what extent he could hold his own against a Verstappen, it’s hard to say.”