Sunday, February 25

Pierre Gasly’s options: A path back to Red Bull, or a Mercedes jump?

For several seasons now, Pierre Gasly has driven phenomenally in the Torro Rosso/AlphaTauri machine. Often outperforming his teammate and machinery, some have begun to wonder as to whether if he can now make the step up, one which he had failed with Red Bull in 2019. However, it might be a much more multifaceted decision for the future of his career.

Red Bull links

One would think that Red Bull remains a ready option for Pierre Gasly, with the affiliations between the marquee team and the junior, AlphaTauri. However, once his brief stint ended at the senior team in 2019, some reports came out to say that he had “ruffled a few feathers of the hierarchy” and “delivered some painful home truths”. This, understandably, left the decision-makers at Red Bull rather miffed, resulting in him being overlooked for a seat since then. Yet, questions are now being asked of the Red Bull hierarchy as to why he hasn’t had the opportunity to rejoin the team. With three podiums, all achieved with Torro Rosso/AlphaTauri, including a shock win at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, it would seem that Gasly now has gained the experience to hold his own against the powerful Max Verstappen. With Gasly and sporting director Jonathan Wheatley both trying to push a similar idea, might we see a move back for the Frenchman?

Mercedes have become one of the teams more well-known teams for maintaining their driver lineups. Since 2010, Mercedes has only had five drivers in total. Choosing long-term stability over short-term performance has required them to carefully pick out the drivers necessary to meet their goals. The most recent example lies in George Russell, who completed something similar to an “internship” at the Williams Racing team. After three years at the lower end of the grid, he has been deemed fit and ready for the step up.

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Ever since his demotion to Torro Rosso/AlphaTauri, Gasly has performed metronomically at a high rate. Often outperforming his teammates, it’s more unusual to see him out of the points, than in it, a vastly impressive achievement in the tight midfield of F1. Some thought has now led to linking the Frenchman to the iconic German manufacturer. If he holds station till his Red Bull affiliation ends, which may be within a shot of joining Mercedes. While Russell seems to have bedded himself in for the long term, Hamilton’s age and significant achievements may lead him to retire out of the sport in the medium term. Thus, if he keeps an eye on the driver market, the Frenchman may set himself in the prime position to enter the German marque.

A left-field move

Of course, there are eight other teams available, in theory. However, it all depends on how they meet, react and adapt to the sweeping changes from the new regulations. Gasly’s performances in the midfield have certainly earned him the ability to enter multiple teams, yet a careful assessment will need to be done to ensure that he remains competitive. Alpine and Aston Martin both have ageing drivers in Fernando Alonso & Sebastian Vettel and would require another powerful driver to help push the team to the front end of the field. McLaren may seek his services if Ricciardo suffers another difficult season. Even Williams & Haas could be options if they manage to ace the coming regulations. An interesting and difficult decision certainly lies ahead for Pierre Gasly.

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