Japanese Grand Prix – The rumours have finally been confirmed with Alpine announcing Pierre Gasly will race for them from next season.
The Frenchman had been one of the front runners for the seat since Oscar Piastri denied he would be taking Fernando Alonso’s seat, later revealing he had signed with McLaren, after the double world champion announced he would be leaving for Aston Martin at the end of the season. The issue however was that Gasly had a contract with AlphaTauri for next year.
While Red Bull were open to letting Gasly leave, they wanted to have a quick replacement for him and while they initially wanted IndyCar racer Colton Herta, the American lost out as he fell short of the required superlicense points as his current series doesn’t receive as many as F2 would.
With that falling through, it was Alex Albon’s appendicitis in Monza which opened the door for former Formula E and F2 champion, Nyck de Vries, to show what he could do when given more than an FP1 session – of which he had driven three for Mercedes-powered teams so far this year – and that caught Red Bull’s attention enough for them to allow Gasly to join his old friend turned rival, Esteban Ocon, for an all-French Alpine team.
“I am delighted to join the Alpine family,” Gasly said, “and begin this new chapter in my Formula 1 career. Driving for a team that has French roots is something very special. I know the strengths of Alpine having raced against them over the past couple of years and, clearly, their progress and ambition is very impressive.
“I wish to thank Red Bull as this marks the end of our 9-year journey together. It is thanks to their trust and support that I became a Formula 1 driver, and what we’ve achieved with Scuderia AlphaTauri over the last years has been very special.
“Looking ahead, I want to give the maximum and utilise all my experience to fight for podiums and ultimately contribute to Alpine’s fight for championships in the future.”
We were just two little kids from Normandy with an impossible dream. Welcome to the Alpine family Pierrot, let’s make our team and our country proud 🇫🇷
On était juste deux gosses en Normandie avec un rêve qui semblait impossible.🇫🇷 Bienvenue dans l’équipe Pierrot. @AlpineF1Team pic.twitter.com/3hGFDDNjKY
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) October 8, 2022
Alpine’s Team Principal, Otmar Szafnauer, welcomed their new signing and thanked Red Bull for releasing him.
“I’m very happy that Pierre will be joining the team for 2023 and beyond,” Szafnauer said. “He is already a proven talent within Formula 1, and we are looking forward to harnessing that within the team.
“Our team has several objectives for the coming seasons and I firmly believe our driver line-up is a great reflection of the team’s high ambitions. I trust Pierre and Esteban can, together, motivate the team to continue its progress towards these goals. We would also like to thank Red Bull for agreeing the terms to allow Pierre to take this step.”
Laurent Rossi, Alpine’s CEO, added that “I would like to welcome Pierre to the Alpine family. He is a talented and motivated driver who will contribute positively to our objectives in Formula 1.
“Pierre is completely aligned with the ambition and progression that has, to date, been a hallmark of the Alpine project. As a young, but highly experienced and successful driver, his trajectory is on course with our own, and we look forward to growing together.”
While Renault’s CEO, Luca de Meo, was delighted that there would be an all-French and most specifically an all-Normandy team from next season.
“We are proud to present an all-French driver line up from 2023,” de Meo said. “Our roots are in France, and Alpine was born in Normandy, so this is a serendipity of sorts. Both will drive the team and the Group forward and, I hope, we can become a symbol of pride for France.”
🗣️ "I'm extremely excited about this new chapter in my life". Welcome to the team, @PierreGasly.#Alpine #GAS10 pic.twitter.com/uPgjzofrYg
— BWT Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) October 8, 2022