Otmar Szafnauer explained why Alpine decided to give Pierre Gasly a contract and also mentioned his current relationship with Esteban Ocon.
In recent months, one of the main topics in the Formula 1 environment has been the issue of filling the second seat of the French team for the 2023 season, which turned out to be slow due to the great confusion regarding the future of Fernando Alonso. and Oscar Piastri.
During the weekend at Suzuka, the stable from Enstone proved it A major transfer of the current AlphaTauri driverwhich will join his ranks from next year’s World Cup campaign, forming a joint squad with Ocon, who was once close to Pierre.
Both competitors have known each other since a young age, when they competed in karting, but their friendship did not stand the test of time. After entering the top ranks of motorsport, a conflict arose between them, which caused their paths to diverge.
It turns out that the issue was not taken lightly by Alpine management, as it was part of the discussion with Gasly and Ocon. The leader of the French team expressed hope that his next year’s students will re-establish friendly relations with each other, and their mutual relations will not cause any problems.
– We made a conscious decision – Szafnauer said at a senior press conference on Saturday. “This means that we had an interview with the whole team beforehand, including Esteban, to make sure that we will be able to work together because it is a team sport.
– Esteban and Pierre were very helpful in the decision making process. They are all professionals and have no problem working together. Let’s hope their friendship will revive, because at one time they were close to each other.
– From a professional point of view, both are very happy that they will be riding in the same team. They have known each other for a long time and run together. They are more or less the same experience, both are also very fast and ambitious. So I believe they will work well together.
Szafnauer also revealed that Alpine’s latest addition was a perfect candidate for the position as it met all of the team’s management requirements, and in some ways surpassed Alonso and Piastri.
– We had an open seat since the holiday break. We started wondering who would be the best fit for us. We had certain criteria that we followed. We wanted a driver who is naturally fast, experienced and young at the same time.
“Not many people have these three ingredients, but Pierre certainly does. We thought it was a great fit for us. So we put him on our list of candidates and then we started finalizing the contract.
– At first, our list was very short. When it became clear that Oscar wasn’t 100% sure about some of the contractual issues, we started working on who else to consider. Pierre was in that group, but one of the problems was that it was supposed to be available in 2024.
– Later it became obvious to us that [Gasly] he has youth, experience and speed. It would be hard to say the same for most of the drivers still racing in Formula 1. Even the other two mentioned. [Alonso i Piastri], they did not have these qualities. So we are lucky to find Pierre and start working with him.
The team commander from Enstone also commented on the negotiations with Red Bull, which decided to release Gasly from his family, shorten the contract with him and replace him with Nyck de Vries. Blue talks with Taurus would be fruitful, which allowed the former player to complete their squad for next season.
– There were several things in the discussion on this topic, but I can say that the work with Franz [Tostem], Helmut [Marko] and Christian [Hornerem] finding Pierre’s future was very easy. They were true to what they declared and also did what they said and intended to do. It was a pleasure working with them.