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Gasly: Joining Alpine for F1 2023 'very quickly' felt like the right move – Autosport

Alpine announced on Saturday that one-time grand prix winner Gasly will complete its line-up for next year, joining on a multi-year deal to partner fellow Frenchman Esteban Ocon. 
In an interview with Formula 1, Gasly said there had “always been links” to Renault through his career, but “nothing really serious” until a seat opened up for next year in the wake of Fernando Alonso’s shock exit and the Oscar Piastri contract saga.
“I was contracted with AlphaTauri for the 2023 season, but with everything happening, it started some more serious conversations and dialogue,” explained Gasly.
“It wasn’t easy, but with everything together, it’s obviously a big move in my career and something I really had to think through.
“But I must admit, it very quickly felt like the right thing to do. It was pretty clear for me, based on what I want to achieve in Formula 1, this is the right thing to do.”
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
It will mark the end of Gasly’s association with Red Bull that has lasted nearly a decade, and saw the energy drink giant support his junior career and eventual graduation into F1.
Gasly was under contract with Red Bull to race for its sister team, AlphaTauri, in 2023 before a deal was struck to free him from his agreement one year early.
It paved the way for AlphaTauri to sign 2019 Formula 2 champion Nyck de Vries as Gasly’s replacement, the deal also being announced on Saturday morning ahead of final practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Gasly is statistically the most successful driver in the history of the AlphaTauri team, including its predecessor, Toro Rosso. He scored its second F1 win at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, as well as two further podiums at Interlagos in 2019 and in Baku last year.
Gasly was grateful that Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner, motorsport advisor Helmut Marko and AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost all understood the opportunity that Alpine could offer him, not standing in his way to leave for 2023.
“They understood straightaway the opportunity that it was for me, also my desire to start something new and my will to fight at the front of the grid,” said Gasly.
“They kind of understood that quite quickly, especially Helmut and Christian as well. I had a long conversation with Helmut. I could see tears in Franz’s eyes once he got the news, because we obviously have a very strong relationship. We’ve been working extremely well together.
“So it was something that has been discussed with all parties, and it was tougher for some than for some others.
“But at the end of the day, they all understood what an opportunity it was for me, and worked around it to make it happen. I’m very thankful for that.”
Gasly hoped his experience within the Red Bull set-up across its teams would prove useful to Alpine, bringing knowledge from an F1 title-winning operation.
“I’ve seen Seb [Vettel], a world champion, working with Red Bull. I’ve seen Daniel [Ricciardo], I’ve seen Max [Verstappen],” said Gasly.
“I’ve spent probably 200, 250 days of my life in the simulator over the past 10 years working with Red Bull engineers, being inside the factory, and seeing how a world championship team works. It’s up to me to use all that experience in the best way possible to help Alpine over the next coming years and push them to the front of the grid.
“It’s not a decision you take overnight. I’ve lived a lot of things with Red Bull. But then at some point, at this stage of my career, I need to look at what are the best chances to achieve my personal goals in Formula 1, how to achieve my personal ambitions in Formula 1.
“I must say, pretty quickly, it was definitely clear to me this was the right move to make.”
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