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Formula 1

Gasly: Bold move for Piastri to refuse Alpine F1 seat

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Pierre Gasly has called Oscar Piastri’s refusal of an Alpine Formula 1 seat “quite a bold move”, as Piastri attempts to force a move to McLaren instead.

Piastri is Alpine’s reserve driver and has been part of its academy programme since 2020.

Alpine wanted to place him on loan at Williams next season as it expected to re-sign Fernando Alonso but when Alonso stunned the team with a move to Aston Martin, Alpine tried to promote Piastri instead.

Piastri’s management had secretly arranged a move to McLaren, though, forcing Piastri to publicly reject Alpine’s claim he would drive for the team in 2023.

Oscar Piastri Alpine F1

Now F1’s Contract Recognitions Board is reviewing which of McLaren or Alpine does have the contractual right to Piastri’s services in 2023 but the ultimate outcome is unlikely to change – only whether McLaren must pay Alpine compensation or not.

Alpine is lining up Gasly instead of Piastri, having agreed with Red Bull to pay for Gasly’s 2023 AlphaTauri contract to be broken, and while Gasly will not comment on anything to do with his own future he has expressed surprise at what has played out.

Asked by The Race if he was following what happened at the start of the summer break, when the Alonso/Piastri situation first began, Gasly said: “Obviously I had an eye on it because I always follow a bit what’s going on, and everything started to kick off with Seb [Vettel] announcing he was leaving, then Fernando making his announcement.

“It’s more at the time I thought it was quite a bold move from Oscar, to refuse an F1 seat when you know how difficult it can be to get there and being affiliated with Alpine.

“So I was just quite surprised with his move.”

Piastri’s actions have been questioned as a result of this saga, with Alpine even publicly questioning his integrity.

If Gasly is to join Alpine he will have to walk away from the Red Bull stable that has supported him since 2014 and given him all his major F1 opportunities – but has made it clear he does not have a future at Red Bull Racing, where he briefly drove in 2019 before being demoted.

Gasly will therefore follow in Carlos Sainz’s footsteps in terms of breaking out of the Red Bull family in order to try to help his career.

Carlos Sainz Renault F1

Speaking about his own F1 experience, Gasly said that “you should remember who helped you first, and always be appreciative and grateful for this sort of treatment”.

AlphaTauri made Gasly a race winner in 2020 and he has scored two other podiums with the team, but the 2022 season has been more difficult as AlphaTauri has struggled at the beginning of the new technical regulations.

It is clear that the Red Bull sister team cannot match Gasly’s personal ambitions while a move to Alpine, the Renault works team, should move him up the grid.

Asked by The Race about how much sentiment is factored into such a career decision, Gasly said: “It’s only performance-driven. At some point when you’re in Formula 1… we’ve got only one career, and you need to make the best out of it.

“And the motivation, the satisfaction, goes by the result that you get and going back home on Sunday morning feeling that you got the best out of the package you had – but obviously it feels better when you’re on top of the step, compared to finishing P12 and having to be happy with a P12.

Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri F1

“We sacrifice, work a lot, towards one goal, to be the best – and that performance factor will always have the priority over the emotional side that you have.

“I’m someone emotional, I feel I connect with the people, this is a very important part for me.

“But the competitive mindset you have as an F1 driver is just on a different level.”

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