Pierre Gasly’s first ever Formula One victory at the weekend’s Italian Grand Prix might have been a dream come true but it won’t bring him back into the fold at Red Bull.
Driving for AlphaTauri, Gasly on Sunday became the first French winner of a F1 GP since Olivier Panis in Monaco in 1996, and was so excited after his maiden triumph that he missed French President Emmanuel Macron’s initial congratulatory call.
“I’m still struggling to realise what’s happened,” said Gasly, who was only three months old when Panis won on the rain-soaked streets of Monte Carlo in a Ligier.
The 24-year-old is under contract with Red Bull, who demoted him to their subsidiary team, Alpha Tauri, after last season.
His victory inspired paddock speculation of a return to the senior outfit, where successor Alex Albon has struggled this year. Even six-time champion Lewis Hamilton has pointed out that Red Bull need a stronger team-mate for Max Verstappen.
However on Monday, Red Bull’s influential advisor Helmut Marko made clear that the team had no plan of offering Gasly a return.
“That is currently not a consideration,” said Marko. “Gasly is one of our Red Bull drivers, he is currently with AlphaTauri and is doing a great job there… But we also need a team leader there.”
Gasly made it clear he believed he was worthy of a chance.
“I think I’m ready but… it’s not up to me to make that call,” he said. “All I’ve done since they moved me back to Toro Rosso (AlphaTauri’s previous name) has been to focus on myself and just show what I can do.
“When I get the right tools in my hand, I’m really happy with the performances we’ve done… We’ll see what happens.”
Team chief Franz Tost said Red Bull were aware that Gasly had suddenly become attractive to other teams.
“If we lose him, that means the team did a good job because otherwise they wouldn’t take him, but I’m optimistic he will stay,” Tost said.
In winning, Gasly emulated Sebastian Vettel by claiming his maiden victory at Monza with the Faenza-based team, 12 years on from the four-time champion’s rain-lashed win from pole position.
Gasly said he took a few seconds on the podium to consider his position and fix the moment in his memory.
“It was amazing,” he said. “I just wanted to take the time to figure out what was just happening to me because it was so amazing.
“I had a lot of thoughts crossing my mind and wanted to enjoy that. Even without the tifosi and their passion, it was a fantastic moment.”