Alpine has reportedly sounded out Red Bull on the eventuality of releasing Pierre Gasly from his contract with AlphaTauri and joining the French squad next season, which could open the door for Mick Schumacher to join the sister bull outfit.
Earlier this summer, Red Bull extended Gasly’s contract with AlphaTauri for 2023, while also securing the services of Sergio Perez until the end of 2024.
For Gasly, the Mexican driver’s deal put to rest his hopes of rejoining Red Bull Racing in the near future and getting a second chance alongside Max Verstappen at the front-running team.
But recent developments in F1’s ebullient driver market might well hand Gasly an opportunity to leave the Red Bull family a year early and switch his allegiance to an all-French outfit.
Amid Alpine’s legal wranglings with Oscar Piastri, the outcome of which could be decided next week by the FIA’s Contract recognition Board, the Enstone squad is compiling a short list of potential candidates to replace Aston Martin-bound Fernando Alonso.
Cue Gasly who is reportedly at the top of Alpine’s choices. And if the French outfit can make it worth Red Bull’s while, Helmut Marko would be open to releasing the Frenchman.
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One caveat to the move however is the alleged long-standing bad blood that exists between Gasly and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and which goes all the way back to their karting days.
However, much water has likely crossed under the bridge and the pair, as the mature professionals that they are, would likely work together in peace?
Gasly’s transfer to Alpine would open up two distinct potential opportunities for Red Bull. With Schumacher rumored to leave Haas at the end of the season, the young German, free from his ties with Ferrari, could be free to join the energy drink’s big family and AlphaTauri.
For Red Bull, that could be an interesting prospect in the context of the company’s upcoming joint venture with German manufacturer Porsche.
But Helmut Marko is rumored to also be considering a more exotic alternative to Schumacher, with the Austrian apparently taking a keen interest in Andretti Autosport’s IndyCar star Colton Herta.
Herta has a test contract with McLaren that was partially fulfilled when the young American enjoyed two days of testing at Portimao last month with the papaya squad.
Interestingly, Helmut Marko and McLaren boss Zak Brown were seen in conversation together at Spa on Saturday, according to Motorsport.com reporter Adam Cooper.
There subsists however a significant barrier to entry for Herta: the 22-year-old does not hold an F1 Superlicence, which implies that the FIA would need to grant Herta an exception.
It’s been a whirlwind silly season for the drivers’ market, but more gusty currents could be on their way.
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