AlphaTauri Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly has admitted he does “wonder why” Red Bull hasn’t brought him back into the main team given his performances since his demotion.
Frenchman Gasly has become an F1 grand prix winner since the abrupt end to his disappointing stint at Red Bull midway through 2019 and has performed at a consistently high level, whereas Red Bull is yet to conclusively succeed in its search for a high-performing team-mate to Max Verstappen.
Having dispensed with Gasly’s replacement Alex Albon, it has brought in Sergio Perez for 2021, but a decent start for the Mexican has transitioned into something of a slump.
Dutch GP qualifying proved the latest example of both Gasly’s continued renaissance and Perez’s struggles, as the former matched his career-best qualifying in fourth place while the latter went out in Q1. Though Perez’s Q1 exit was aided by freak circumstances, he had not looked anywhere near Verstappen’s level all weekend.
Perez, however, was confirmed by Red Bull as being retained for 2022 alongside Verstappen during the previous Belgian GP weekend, with Gasly now set to continue at AlphaTauri for another season.
When asked by SkySportsF1 pundit Nico Rosberg after Dutch GP qualifying whether he’d received an explanation for why he wasn’t chosen for a Red Bull seat for 2022, Gasly admitted: “I wonder why.
“But, yeah, there were discussions and you know, I think they are really happy with my performance but obviously there is not only this into… you know like me how difficult it is and yeah, they made their decision.
“Obviously it was a small disappointment for me because that’s where I want to be, I want to have a fast car.
“I’m not saying, AlphaTauri [do] give me really a strong car, but yeah, I mean it was up to them [Red Bull]. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future but for sure next year I’m not going to drive there.”
There’s a widespread impression in the paddock that Gasly’s first stint at the senior Red Bull team has significantly soured its higher-ups at the prospect of ever bringing him back, or that there’s at least a prevailing Red Bull belief that he’s just a better fit for AlphaTauri.
However, Gasly’s 2021 may well be his most convincing season yet in F1, the Frenchman having scored the vast majority of AlphaTauri’s points and having decisively outperformed rookie team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.
Asked by The Race about his recent record for maximising qualifying performances and results in particular, Gasly said: “I don’t really show it, I just talked about it with Fabi [Fabiana Valenti, AlphaTauri head of comms] actually, because she said ‘do you realise’.
“I’m really a perfectionist, all the time, and am always looking for perfection. I told her, if I say I’m not unhappy, that means I’m really happy. And that’s a bit the feeling I get today. Because I don’t think we could’ve done any better, and obviously as a driver it’s a very good feeling.
“I think this year has been very consistent, I think I’ve been performing at my best level in Formula 1, definitely compared to since I arrived. And it’s good that it’s noticed.”