AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly has quipped that he will take team-mate, Yuki Tsunoda, with him if he joins Alpine next season.
Tsunoda was recently signed to a new contract with the Red Bull junior ide that keeps him there until at least the end of next year.
That placed him at the Faenza-based squad alongside Gasly for a third consecutive season, the first time they have retained their driver line-up for a third consecutive campaign.
However, there is still a possibility that the Frenchman might yet leave, with Alpine looking for a replacement for Fernando Alonso.
The 26-year-old’s departure from the Red Bull programme was not opposed by the hierarchy, but is dependent on them finding a replacement for him.
Alpine also need to pay the right price to pry Gasly from his contract, but recent reports would indicate that they have reached an agreement, while Red Bull appear to have captured Nyck de Vries.
The only thing left to do, seemingly, is for the former Red Bull driver to agree to a contract to race alongside Esteban Ocon, who himself said that he wanted Haas’ Mick Schumacher with him at the Enstone-based team in 2023.
This could partly be due to his slightly strained relationship with Gasly that stretches back to their junior days, although that would surely be easily smoothed out were they to become team-mates.
Gasly certainly does have a healthy relationship with Tsunoda, and he asked the young Japanese driver if he wants him to remain in the same team as him.
“Please ask him about that, so you want me as a team-mate?” Gasly asked.
“Of course, we’re always together,” replied Tsunoda.
The Rouen-born driver then quipped that he will drag Tsunoda with him if he goes elsewhere in the paddock.
“If I leave, I will transfer with Yuki wherever I go,” said Gasly.
On a more serious note, Gasly indicated that his talks with Alpine are making progress.
“I think we’ll find out soon, discussions and negotiations are currently underway,” he explained.
“You will come to a conclusion soon, let’s see what happens.”
Gasly scored a podium in Suzuka in the first round of the Super Formula season in 2017, and he was set to skip his newly adopted Formula 1 duties to race again in the final stage of the season as he attempted to fight for the title.
In the end, the event was rained off anyway, but the Frenchman enjoys being at the figure-of-eight circuit anyway.
“Since I came to Japan with Super Formula in 2017, Japan has become a special place for me,” added Gasly.
“At that time, I became a race fan for the first time, I think there are more people in Japan who support me more than France.”
“There is always Japan in my heart. Every time I come back here, I get the best support. I’m really grateful to my Japanese fans.”
Formula 1 has not visited Japan since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Gasly is delighted to return to one of the most iconic circuits in motorsport.
“I’m excited to be able to run in Suzuka for the first time in three years, because I really missed it, I’ve been waiting for the Formula 1 race in Suzuka,” he elucidated.
Rain is expected this weekend, and that could help AlphaTauri to a strong result amid a tremendously tough season for the team.
“I hope it rains,” affirmed Gasly.
“I’m good at wet, and this season, rainy races lead to opportunities every time. Besides, our machines are more susceptible to understanding behaviour these days.”
Having slipped to ninth in the Constructors’ Standings, Gasly is looking for some strong form in the last five races of the season to beat Haas and Aston Martin.
That starts this weekend in Japan.
“We are currently competing with Aston Martin and Haas in the Contractors competition. In order to overtake them, it is necessary for both of us to take away a lot of points,” reiterated Gasly.
“I want a lot of points. To that end, Suzuka is the best circuit.”
AlphaTauri finished sixth in the Constructors’ Standings in 2021, but Alfa Romeo look likely to seal up that spot this year.