Does Gasly have reason to be "sad" over his Red Bull snub?

When Pierre Gasly retired his AlphaTauri car three laps into the Italian Grand Prix, it ended an impressive run of form for Red Bull's sister Formula 1 team.

Does Gasly have reason to be "sad" over his Red Bull snub?

Before Gasly's retirement and Yuki Tsunoda's failure to start the race at Monza, AlphaTauri had been the only team to score points in every race this season, putting it in the hunt for fifth place in the constructors' championship.

A large part of that contribution has come courtesy of Gasly, who, prior to Monza, had failed to score points in only three races this year. While rookie teammate Tsunoda has spent time getting up to speed and ironing out mistakes, Gasly has emerged as AlphaTauri's undisputed team leader.

His performances this year have been excellent, the most notable display coming in Baku when he charged to third place. Gasly sits third in Motorsport.com's average driver ratings for the season to date, his average of 8.1/10 leaving him behind only Lando Norris and Max Verstappen (both on 8.5).

It therefore made it strange that, amid all of the driver market chatter in silly season, Gasly's name hardly ever came up. It was simply accepted that, as the game of musical chairs unfolded, the Frenchman would sit still. There would be no return to Red Bull, nor any chance of a move elsewhere.

Confirmation that Gasly would be remaining with AlphaTauri, issued by the team on 7 September, came as a surprise to nobody, particularly after Red Bull's earlier announcement that Sergio Perez would be staying for a second season in 2022.

But it did leave many wondering what the future would hold for Gasly - including Gasly himself. He has often talked about the hope that his outstanding displays for AlphaTauri, the obvious highlight being his Monza victory last year, may lead to a return to Red Bull. After all, as a member of its sister team, there is undoubtedly the ambition and hope there would be a path up to the senior squad.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

It was something Gasly spoke about in an interview with French broadcaster Canal + at Monza. Gasly noted he was having "the best season at Toro Rosso and AlphaTauri of any driver since they started in F1 in the last 15 years", but was "not being rewarded for going higher".

"It's true that it's sad and a bit frustrating, on the one hand," Gasly added. "But on the other hand it's just the way it is, these are things that are out of my hands. Unfortunately it's not up to me."

Much of that frustration comes from the way in which Gasly was cast as being a poor fit for Red Bull during his 12-race spell at the team in 2019, prior to being replaced by Alexander Albon during the summer break. Gasly himself would not sugarcoat his performances through that time, having struggled to match Max Verstappen's form across the garage.

But while Perez's extension into 2022 may suggest he has been the answer to the Red Bull second driver 'problem', Gasly made note of the Mexican's recent performances during the interview.

"It's true that when you see the performances, especially last weekend in Zandvoort, when he was taken out in Q1 and finished eighth, one lap behind his teammate, and was the driver of the day, there are certain things that you don't really understand," Gasly said.

Perez has spoken openly about the difficulty of getting up to speed with Red Bull's RB16B car, with its tricky concept and aggressive driving style suited to Verstappen making it hard to get on top of. It's the same challenge that both Gasly and Albon faced when they were at the team.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The points comparison does reflect favourably on Perez. Through the opening 12 races of the 2021 season, he picked up 104 points with a best finish of first in Azerbaijan. In Gasly's 12-race stint at Red Bull, he picked up 63 points, and only finished as high as fourth at Silverstone.

But it is worth noting the differing circumstances. Perez is racing in a more competitive car that should be in the top four every single weekend, such is the advantage of Mercedes and Red Bull. In early 2019, Gasly had the added challenge of Ferrari to battle against, giving him greater competition and thus making it harder, in theory, to pick up points so regularly.

That said, the gap to Verstappen - who faced the same outside competition - is greater. Gasly scored 34.8% of Verstappen's points total in their time as teammates in 2019. Perez's haul equated to 52.1% through the same number of races.

In announcing his new deal for 2022, Christian Horner talked up the "seamless" fashion in which Perez has integrated himself with Red Bull, acting as a good team player. This was seen no better than at Paul Ricard when he helped Verstappen en route to victory. He's been doing what the team has needed this year.

The new regulations in 2022 should remedy some of the traditional concept challenges posed by the Red Bull car, giving Perez a chance to reset. At Spa, he spoke of the "massive opportunity" on offer next season, given all of the drivers will start from zero.

It does little to soften the blow for Gasly, though. He continues to sit in a holding pattern, waiting for an opportunity to arise despite currently performing at the peak of his powers. To be a Red Bull-contracted driver without an obvious route right now to Red Bull is a tough pill to swallow.

But again, 2022 will also offer an opportunity to Gasly. If he can continue to lead AlphaTauri and make the team his own, he can again stake a claim for a seat with the senior squad - or elsewhere, should a chance arise. If his case is so convincing that Red Bull wants to bring him back for 2023, it could be ideal timing: the car may be more drivable, and Gasly himself will be that much older and more experienced that the first time around.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Red Bull team boss Horner spoke at Monza about Gasly, saying he could "never rule anything out" regarding a potential return in the future. "He's driving at a very, very high standard," Horner said. "He's still very young. He's doing a great job. So for 2023, we have multiple options available to us. When you're in the situation you are, that's exactly what you want."

The challenge for Gasly will come if that route back to Red Bull does not open back up again, for the other top teams appear to have their futures well set for now around other young drivers. He is clearly flourishing in the AlphaTauri environment, and is building good experience as a team leader.

Read Also:

Gasly is accepting of the situation though, recognising it is currently "out of my control".

"I can only concentrate on what happens and continue to give my best for the team and for myself," he said. "I'm sure it will pay off in the future with an opportunity in a top team."

If Red Bull does not want him long-term and an exit route emerges for Gasly, he would have a convincing argument for a seat at another team. He's a team leader, a race winner, and establishing himself as one of F1's most consistent performers.

It may be frustrating seeing that go unrewarded for now, but it could bear fruit down the line through the opportunity he so dearly wants again.

shares
comments

Related video

Albon explains why Williams was first choice for F1 comeback
Previous article

Albon explains why Williams was first choice for F1 comeback

Next article

Berger: Intense Hamilton/Verstappen fight what F1 needs

Berger: Intense Hamilton/Verstappen fight what F1 needs
Load comments
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Prime

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
Qatar's long-term plans for a "World Cup every single year" Prime

Qatar's long-term plans for a "World Cup every single year"

Qatar is preparing to host the football World Cup next year, but will be thrown into the sporting spotlight this weekend as Formula 1 prepares to race in the country. Ahead of a 10-year deal to hold a grand prix from 2023 onwards, it's a much-needed opportunity to highlight reforms in the country

Formula 1
Nov 20, 2021