Pierre Gasly will remain with the AlphaTauri Formula 1 team in 2021, with hope of a Red Bull return now formally extinguished.
Gasly drove for Red Bull Racing in 2019 but was demoted to Toro Rosso in the second half of the season then remained with the team as it transformed into AlphaTauri this year.
He has been one of the leading performers of the 2020 season, earning a shock victory at the Italian Grand Prix, with his most recent display a charging fifth-place finish in the Portuguese Grand Prix last weekend.
Gasly’s form, coupled with his Red Bull successor Alex Albon’s struggles, has forced Red Bull to face questions over whether Gasly should be reinstated at the senior team in 2021.
That had been repeatedly ruled out by Red Bull as it has doubts Gasly would not simply slip back into his difficult early-2019 form alongside Max Verstappen, and Red Bull has also claimed that AlphaTauri has changed status and is now Red Bull Racing’s “sister team” rather than simply a junior operation so benefits from a driver of Gasly’s stature.
Gasly had indicated he was happy to remain with AlphaTauri in the short-term given its changing priorities but had also not emphatically ruled out hope of returning to partner Verstappen at Red Bull Racing.
However, AlphaTauri has now formally announced Gasly will remain part of its line-up in 2021, with his team-mate to be confirmed.
“This year is going very well, and we are on track to have our most successful season in the team’s history,” said Gasly.
“I feel we have a very strong relationship, we have managed to take every opportunity that’s come our way, the best one at the Italian Grand Prix.
“Winning my first Formula 1 race in Monza was a very special moment for me, and it was made extra sweet to deliver a second win in the team’s history, so I’m very proud of that.
“I’ll do my maximum to push the team and take all my responsibility to bring it as far forward as I can.”
Gasly is set to be partnered at AlphaTauri next season by Yuki Tsunoda if the Formula 2 rookie qualifies for a superlicence.
Red Bull and Honda protege Tsunoda has won two races and lies third in the F2 standings this season, will test for AlphaTauri in an old car at Imola this month and potentially run in a Friday practice session before the end of the F1 season.
He is also set to drive in the young driver test in Abu Dhabi next month.
Tsunoda’s promotion to F1 would signal the end of Daniil Kvyat’s third spell with Red Bull.
As for Red Bull Racing’s line-up, a decision is expected in the coming weeks with Albon potentially only having this weekend’s Imola race to convince the team to keep him on.