Official: Pierre Gasly will drive for Alpine F1 in 2023 | Top Gear
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Tuesday 21st March
Formula One

Official: Pierre Gasly will drive for Alpine F1 in 2023

Alpine has signed Pierre Gasly from AlphaTauri to form an all-French driver line-up with Esteban Ocon next season

Published: 08 Oct 2022

The long-running summer saga over who actually wants to drive for Alpine in 2023 has finally been resolved: the team has signed Pierre Gasly from AlphaTauri to replace the outgoing Fernando Alonso.

Not content with having a limited edition version of the Alpine A110 R named after him, you’ll recall that the Spaniard announced a shock move to Aston Martin back in August following the news of Sebastian Vettel’s imminent retirement.

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That left Alpine turning to reserve driver Oscar Piastri, only for the young Aussie to deny any valid agreement with the team having secretly signed for McLaren. The dispute went to F1’s Contract Recognition Board, and Alpine lost. Oops.

But after weeks of talks behind the scenes, the team has finally found a way to break Gasly out of his 2023 contract with AlphaTauri, and he'll now partner fellow countryman Esteban Ocon next season.

Speaking to ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Alpine boss Laurent Rossi said they'd considered multiple drivers 'in and out of F1', including Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenburg.

Rossi said Gasly was favoured "because I believe it is fair to say we have maybe the fourth fastest car right now and we need a driver who can consistently bring home six, seven or eight points per race". Rossi noted Alonso's experience is a huge loss for his team, saying there is no-one better at car feedback in F1 than Fernando.

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Even so, the move is still something of a surprise given the 26-year-old reportedly doesn’t enjoy an easy relationship with his new teammate.

Asked if he can guarantee Ocon and Gasly will get along at Alpine, Rossi said "they have been rivals since they were about six years old in karting" but remained confident the two Frenchmen would form a strong and harmonious unit.

Rossi said he had briefed both drivers "you do not want to be remembered as someone who could not put the past behind you" and insisted neither will get 'number one driver' status in the team. 

"Both drivers are equal and free to race until there is a gap in points in the championship," said Alpine's CEO.

Good news if you’re a Drive to Survive producer, we suppose, and a deserved career break for Gasly, who made his debut with AlphaTauri (then known as Toro Rosso) at the tail end of 2017.

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A torrid stint with parent team Red Bull saw the Frenchman demoted back to his the junior outfit mid-way through 2019, although he’s since rebuilt his reputation with a series of impressive drives.

He memorably scored a maiden podium with P2 in Brazil later that season, before going one better with a sensational victory at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in 2020.

Your take on the Ocon-Gasly pairing?

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