breaking news

BREAKING NEWS

today is Dec 07, 2022

Former F1 driver turned presenter Mark Webber expects Pierre Gasly to flourish once he leaves the Red Bull set-up at the end of the season, and moves to a new home at Alpine.

A long-time part of Red Bull's junior driver development programme, Gasly made his F1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2017 at Malaysia. He was briefly promoted to the senior team for 12 races in 2019, but failed to meet the team's exacting standards and was dropped over the summer break.

He returned to Toro Rosso (subsequently rebranded AlphaTauri) and has now started a total of 104 races, with one win under his belt at Monza in the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.

  • Read also: Gasly reveals Tost’s emotional reaction to AlphaTauri exit news

But after initially confirming he would stay with the team in 2023, Gasly has now confirmed he will exit after this year's season Abu Dhabi and move to Alpine as part of an all-French line-up with Esteban Ocon.

Webber - himself a Red Bull veteran - thinks the move will do the 26-year-old a world of good.

“I like Pierre, he’s a good young lad,” Webber told Channel 4 this week. "He’s been at Red Bull for a long time - he could flourish in a new environment.

“Obviously [Alpine] is a French brand, and Pierre locally will be great for them, so I think he could be a cracking little signing," he added.

Gasly's transfer came as part of a domino effect that followed Sebastian Vettel's decision to retire at the end of the year. Aston Martin snapped up Fernando Alonso to fill the gap in their line-up for 2023.

Alpine intended to fill his now-vacant seat with Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri, but the Australian was signed up instead by McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo while AlphaTauri was persuaded to release Gasly in order to sign Nyck de Vries.

Ricciardo remains the odd man out in his game of musical chairs. With few seats still up for grabs for next season it seems there is little interest on either side of his taking up a vacancy at backmarkers Williams.

“A Merc reserve driver role?" suggested Webber. "Who knows how long Lewis [Hamilton] will go on for. So Daniel of course has got decisions,” Webber said. "Merc [is] a pretty handy operation, so it’s something he might consider.”

As for Williams, the team is reported to be keen to sign up Logan Sargeant to pair up with Alex Albon after dropping Nicholas Latifi - providing the American can get enough superlicence points to make him eligible to race at the top tier.

"In general, I think he’s the favourite," said Webber. “He’s in Formula 2 this year [so] he might need a bit of introducing to our fans at home.

"Liberty are pretty keen on him," he explained, referring to the F1 owners' desire to have an American on the grid. "But there’s some superlicence challenges around him in terms of points - [his] championship position in Abu Dhabi.”

Sargeant is currently in third place competing for Carlin in the F2 championship with one round left to go at Yas Marina and needs to finish in the top five to get the superlicence points he needs.

But he's only nine points ahead of a trio of rivals in the championship standings - Jack Doohan, Jehan Daruvala, Enzo Fittipaldi - having failed to score in two of the last three races, leaving him vulnerable of missing out.

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