Will Pierre Gasly join McLaren in 2023?

Pierre Gasly has a deal with AlphaTauri that runs out next year.

There is soon going to come a time when Pierre Gasly is at a crossroads in his career, and he is going to have some tough decisions to make regarding his future.

The Frenchman entered the pinnacle of motorsport towards the end of 2017 with Toro Rosso having won the GP2 championship the year previous, and he and Brendon Hartley were retained for 2018.

After a splendid first full season with the Red Bull junior side, the door was open at Red Bull after Daniel Ricciardo’s departure for Renault, and the now 26-year-old walked through it.

However, Gasly struggled alongside Max Verstappen in 2019, and was out-qualified 11 times in 12 races by the Dutchman.

READ: Max Verstappen still at risk of race ban

He managed a best finish of fourth at the British Grand Prix but, in that time, Verstappen won two races and made five rostrum appearances, demonstrating his supreme ability and his comfort with the car.

Gasly simply did not have the same feel with the RB15 that his team-mate did, and constant questions every week surrounding his future, were nor helping, so he was taken out of the firing line.

Alex Albon, who was halfway through his rookie season with Toro Rosso, replaced the Frenchman, who returned to Faenza.

Demonstrating his professionalism, he continued his relationship with the team without any complaints, and he scored an emotional podium at that year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

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He has added two more podiums to his tally since then, one of the being a famous win in Monza in 2020. It was the Red Bull junior side’s second-ever win – the other one being at the same venue 12 years prior with Sebastian Vettel.

But Gasly is now in his fifth season with AlphaTauri, including the part campaigns with them in 2017 and 2019, and his career progression has stopped since the latter of those years.

The consistent performances of the Frenchman have shown that he deserves a place at a competitive team that can battle for race wins, but none of them are opening up right now.

There is the faintest possibility that Mercedes might be interested if and when Sir Lewis Hamilton decides to retire, but signs are currently pointing to him signing a new deal beyond the end of next season.

Verstappen and his current team-mate, Sergio Perez, both have contracts beyond 2023, which is when Gasly’s current deal with AlphaTauri and Red Bull run out.

Dr Helmut Marko has affirmed that his driver will not be allowed to leave before then, meaning that a move to Alpine is off the cards.

The French team are looking for a driver to replace Fernando Alonso after Oscar Piastri denied that he will be moving up to a race seat from his current reserve role next season.

This is because the Australian is thought to have signed a contract with McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo.

That move would likely see the eight-time race winner return to the Enstone-based side, which would not work out well for Gasly, as both of those avenues would be closed by the time his deal with AlphaTauri runs out.

READ: Franz Tost comments on Pierre Gasly exit clause, Red Bull call-up

He would therefore be hoping that things do not work out for one or two other drivers in the midfield, and the alternative is staying with AlphaTauri.

The Rouen-born racer has already made it clear that he does not want to carry on with Red Bull if he cannot be a part of the main fold though.

If things shake out the way Piastri and his manager Mark Webber want them to then it is tough to see a way out of AlphaTauri without leave F1 as a whole for Gasly.

There would undoubtedly be a place in Formula E, the World Endurance Championship, or even IndyCar for a driver of his talents, but Gasly deserves to be in the pinnacle of motorsport.

It is a competitive world in F1 but, if Michael Andretti wins his battle with other team bosses and gets a team entered by 2024, that could be the saving grace that Gasly needs to stay in the premier class.