AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly insists that Sergio Perez’s new deal at Red Bull is fully deserved, and he will work with Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko to decipher his next steps.
After his second Red Bull win in Monaco last time, Perez was rewarded with a new deal that keeps him at the Austrian side until at least the end of 2024, all but closing the door to Gasly’s return.
The Frenchman has scored three podiums and a race win since his demotion back to the junior team midway through 2019 when it was known as Toro Rosso, after his torrid half season in the main fold alongside Max Verstappen.
His impressive form for the Italian side appeared to put him back in with a real shot of getting back to Red Bull, but it now looks as though he will be looking for a new drive either this year or next season.
The 26-year-old is out of contract at AlphaTauri at the end of this year, but this will be extended to next season if he cannot find an alternative seat.
His deal with Red Bull is up at the end of 2023, by which time he will be seeking alternative employment.
His Red Bull career may not have worked out, but he has no hard feelings with Perez, who is a “good fit” for the Milton Keynes-based side.
“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,” he said.
“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 [Marko] to obviously decide what’s best for all of us, and how do we go forward from there.”
AlphaTauri’s form has taken a bit of a dip this season compared to 2021, during which Gasly qualified in the top five on 10 occasions.
His best qualifying result so far in 2022 has been P7 in Miami, and he has twice been eliminated from Q1, including last time out in Monaco.
The two points finishes for the Rouen-born racer have epitomised what has been a bit of a nearly season so far for the Faenza-based squad, but Gasly is determined to work hard and turn things around.
“Obviously I’m committed to AlphaTauri right now and will always give my best to this team, even if we are going through harder times because this year is not as competitive as we would have liked,” he added.
“Last year we were qualifying P6 and lining up many times next to Charles [Leclerc] and it’s crazy how in one year how things can change, on one side Charles is fighting for the championship and we’re fighting to make it to the top 10.
“It’s a more difficult time but it’s also I like the challenge of trying to push the team forward.
“Personally, obviously, I have ambitions and my ambitions are more than just fighting for top 10s, that’s not what I work for every day, I want more than that, I want to fight at the front, but priority number one is to perform for AlphaTauri.
“I’ll discuss with Helmut on what’s best for all of us, which we [will] do, and after 10 years of relationship – they’ve known me since I was a kid – they know me exactly.
“We have a really good relationship with Helmut and it’s a matter of finding how to make this work for all of us.”
Gasly ended the first practice session in Baku on Friday in P9, 1.3 seconds behind pace-setter Perez.