• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Pierre Gasly will join Alpine in 2023; de Vries to AlphaTauri

BySean Clark

Oct 8, 2022

Photo by Alpine

Several months ago, Oscar Piastri stunned the motorsports world by announcing he would not drive for Alpine in 2023 despite being their reserve driver and in their driving academy. He rejected Alpine’s announcement of him being their driver for 2023, eventually signing with McLaren.

On Saturday before Japanese Grand Prix qualifying, Alpine finally announced their replacement for Fernando Alonso alongside Esteban Ocon for the 2023 season, French driver Pierre Gasly. He has signed a multi-year contract with the team.

“I am delighted to join the Alpine family and begin this new chapter in my Formula 1 career,” Gasly said. “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.”

After the 2022 season ends, Gasly will have ended what was a rocky relationship with Red Bull Racing, AlphaTauri and Honda. The French driver made his F1 debut for Toro Rosso (rebranded to AlphaTauri in 2020) in 2017 and after Daniel Ricciardo left for Renault (now Alpine), Gasly was promoted to drive alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull in 2019.
Alas, Gasly struggled to fulfill expectations and was demoted back to Toro Rosso in the middle of the season. For the next 3.5 seasons, Gasly showed a lot of improvement and confidence, often maximizing points and qualifying results with a midfield team. He achieved three podiums during this stretch by landing in second place at Brazil in 2019, winning at Monza in 2020 and landing in third at Baku last season.
AlphaTauri has failed to make improvements with the new car this season, slipping from sixth to ninth in the World Constructor’s Standings from last year to this season.
Gasly now joins Alpine, who currently sits in fifth place in the WCC standings. He will join French driver Esteban Ocon, creating the first all-French lineup in F1 since Ligier had Olivier Panis and Eric Bernard.

“I’m very happy that Pierre will be joining the team for 2023 and beyond,” Alpine Team Principal Otmar 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.”

Ocon and Gasly being teammates will allow Alpine to have two younger drivers that the team can build around in this new cap era in F1. However, the two have feuded in the past with a childhood rivalry in karting along with several on-track incidents. Time will tell if the two’s relationship will show improvement, or the competition between the two teammates will cause the two F1 French drivers to grow further apart.

“We are proud to present an all-French driver line-up from 2023,” Renault Group CEO Luca 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.”

With Gasly leaving AlphaTauri at the end of the season for Alpine, there was a vacant seat with the Honda team alongside Yuki Tsunoda.

From the perspective of the F1 community, the vacancy lasted for a few minutes before AlphaTauri announced that Williams Racing and Dutch driver Nyck de Vries will drive for the team in 2023.

The Dutchman has seen his fair share of opportunities in F1 this season. de Vries has driven in FP1 for Williams, Mercedes and Aston Martin this season. However, due to appendicitis surgery by Alexander Albon at Monza, de Vries had to fill in on short notice. He made it to Q2 and with a massive amount of penalties on the grid, de Vries started in the top 10 and after a phenomenal drive, scored two points with a ninth-place finish.

“Now, we are pleased to start a new chapter with Nyck, who’s very much welcome at Scuderia AlphaTauri,”  He is a very high skilled driver, as he won in all the categories he competed in, with many races and championships under his belt.  I am looking forward to seeing him in our car and I’m confident that with Yuki and Nyck we will have a very strong driver line up for 2023.”

The 27-year old Dutchman has shown his talent this season in his journey with three different teams. He won the 2020-21 Formula E championship with Mercedes-EQ. He’ll race alongside Tsunoda, who will be thrust into a leadership role after being a rookie last year. Tsunoda has 11 points this season.

On Sunday, the F1 season continues with the Japanese Grand Prix at 1:00 a.m. EST.