Alpine had to pay more for Gasly who had one more year with AlphaTauri

Alpine had to pay more for Gasly who had one more year with AlphaTauri

Alpine considered Gasly as their top candidate for the 2023 driver position, but they had to pay more as he still had one year left on his contract with AlphaTauri.

According to sources, Alpine paid Red Bull around £9 million to convince them to let Pierre Gasly leave AlphaTauri a year early and join the Enstone based team.

This number implies Alpine was eager to sign a top driver to a contract and that comes as no surprise given that their intended replacement, junior Oscar Piastri, favoured a trade to rivals McLaren and Fernando Alonso chose to depart and join Aston Martin rather than renew his contract.

Although several other drivers were taken into consideration, it became evident that Gasly was their top choice when they were unsuccessful in their legal battle to secure Piastri. The roadblock was whether AlphaTauri would let Gasly leave after he had previously declared he would honor the remaining year of his Red Bull contract before weighing his other choices.

The agreement appeared to be in jeopardy after Colton Herta’s ineligibility for an FIA superlicence prevented Red Bull from signing him as an IndyCar racer. They immediately moved their focus to Nyck de Vries, and after the Dutchman made an outstanding F1 debut at Monza, they beat Williams to signing him.

However, AlphaTauri still wished to make up for losing Gasly. They allegedly forced Alpine to pay €10 million (£8.8 million) to allow the 26-year-old to sign, and the fact that they were prepared to spend that much money implies that he was easily their first option over some other possibilities who may have been free.

Daniel Ricciardo, whose contract with McLaren expires at the end of the year, was one of the contenders. The Australian was paid for consenting to leave a year earlier than anticipated, so Alpine would have likely been able to sign him without having to pay anything.

However, this might not have been the case for Ricciardo personally, considering how F1 driver settlements typically operate. He most certainly has a provision in his contract with McLaren that requires him to pay back some or all of the payoff if he secures another race seat for the season he was originally scheduled to drive for the Woking-based team.

It might be the reason Ricciardo informed the media this weekend that he won’t be competing in 2023. He might be imitating Alonso, who took two years off from racing after leaving McLaren in order to honor his entire garden leave period and avoid having to reimburse the organization.

The fact that Alpine invested a significant sum of money to sign Gasly increases the pressure on the Frenchman to earn back their trust. Given that his first stint at a competitive team, Red Bull, ended after only 12 races when he buckled under the pressure of expectation, he will already feel pressure to produce excellent results. The team will want him to get off to a fast start this time.

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