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Marko did not hold Gasly to contract: 'Thankful he understood me'

Marko did not hold Gasly to contract: 'Thankful he understood me'

7 January - 17:35 Last update: 22:00

Pierre Gasly will race for Alpine next season. Helmut Marko would have much preferred the 26-year-old to still be driving for AlphaTauri in 2023, but after a long insistence from Gasly himself, the Red Bull Racing advisor decided to let his pupil go. Gasly is "very grateful" that Marko did not hold him to his still-running contract.

Gasly wanted to leave

In an interview with GP Racing, Gasly says he was keen to leave AlphaTauri because he wants to fight for podiums and victories in Formula 1.
At Alpine, he believes the chances of that are better than at Franz Tost's team. A move to Red Bull Racing was also not in the cards for the short term because of the deal Sergio Perez has until 2024 and that made Gasly eager to close the AlphaTauri chapter.

In August, Vettel announced he would hang up his helmet after 2022. Fernando Alonso decided to switch from Alpine to Aston Martin as his replacement and so the French formation was looking for a replacement. With Oscar Piastri leaving for McLaren, it was Gasly who was suddenly the favourite to make Alonso forget him.

Marko reflects

"Iit changed the market for the next few years quite a lot. And then we had more conversations with Helmut, and I’m also thankful that he understood this is an important opportunity. I told him, ‘Look, I really want to take this on, grab this opportunity and sort of move away because it’s no secret that Red Bull is closed over the next few years.’ And he understood that...”,'" Gasly said.

Whereas in the first half of the season, Marko was totally reluctant to cooperate with a Gasly departure (he was also officially under contract with AlphaTauri until next season), that changed later in the year. Marko granted Gasly his chance at Alpine, but there were a number of conditions that had to be met.

No Herta, but De Vries did

Gasly himself speaks of a "complicated deal". "It wasn’t straightforward. Obviously he [Marko] wanted a replacement, and he was quite direct on who he wanted," Marko had set his sights on the arrival of Colton Herta, but the American ultimately proved unfeasible due to the lack of a super licence. In the end, Marko settled for Nyck de Vries' arrival. "But at the end of the day, we managed to make a win-win deal everybody was happy with. For sure, I’m grateful."