AlphaTauri says driver Pierre Gasly staying through 2023

FAENZA, Italy (AP) — Formula One driver Pierre Gasly will stay with AlphaTauri through 2023, the team said Friday.

The announcement confirmed team principal Franz Tost’s pledge at the Canadian Grand Prix that the 26-year-old Frenchman would “100%” be back next season.

Gasly’s future with the team didn’t seem as certain two weeks ago when he had stressed he wants to race for wins and not just points. That led to speculation Gasly could try to break free from Red Bull, which has backed him for most of his career but does not have an open F1 seat after extending the contract of Sergio Perez.

He expressed disappointment at not being given another shot with Red Bull, which hired him in 2019 but then demoted him back down to Toro Rosso — as AlphaTauri was called then — midway through the campaign. He had struggled to impose himself alongside Max Verstappen, the reigning champion.

In Friday’s statement, both sides agreed to work together.

“This year’s new regulations have created new challenges for us and being able to plan our development with the team for the next 18 months is a good working basis for the future,” Gasly said.

In Montreal, Tost had simply stated that Gasly “has a valid contract, there’s nothing more to say.” On Friday, he said the Frenchman is ”definitely in the group of the best and most competitive drivers in F1.”

“Undoubtedly, Pierre can play a major role in the team having a successful season next year and it will be down to us to provide him with a competitive car, so that he can continue to deliver excellent results,” Tost said.

Gasly is 11th in the standings with 16 points. He has three career podiums.

Gasly bounced back from his Red Bull demotion to end the 2019 season with a second-place finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix. He drove held off Carlos Sainz Jr. in the closing laps to win the Italian GP in 2020. His other podium was a third-place finish at last year’s Azerbaijan GP.

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