Red Bull appear to be opening the door for Pierre Gasly to pursue other opportunities when his contract expires at the end of the 2023 season.
Gasly finds himself bumping his head on a glass ceiling within the Red Bull programme, having worked his way up through the ranks and into the main senior team seat alongside Max Verstappen in 2019 only to be demoted to junior team again after just 12 races.
The pathway back to the senior team for Gasly appears to be blocked as they have found a more solid option in the vastly experienced Sergio Perez and, even if Perez was no longer a Red Bull driver, it would not be a dead certainty that Gasly would have a second bite of the cherry.
There is a strong desire in the Formula 1 community to see Gasly follow in the footsteps of Carlos Sainz and break away from the Red Bull family and go his own way.
Judging by comments made by Helmut Marko via the French branch of Motorsport.com , people may get their wish at the end of next season.
When asked if Red Bull would let Gasly go to pursue other opportunities in Formula 1, he replied: "Yes. We have a good relationship. As a team leader, he has been very successful at AlphaTauri in recent years.
"But Yuki [Tsunoda] is already at his level in terms of lap speed. In the race, things are not going as well [as in previous seasons for the Frenchman].
"Nevertheless, we improved Gasly's contract financially, even though we didn't have to do that.
"Perez's contract prevents a move for Gasly to Red Bull Racing in 2023. From 2024, Gasly is free."
And while Marko acknowledged that Gasly is a better driver now compared to 2019, he still appears to be unconvinced about him being anywhere near Verstappen's standard on a regular basis.
"Gasly was lapped by Max in Hungary in 2019," Marko recalled.
"He's certainly more solid, he has a lot more confidence. But to what extent he could hold his own against a Verstappen, it's hard to say."
Gasly, meanwhile, has recently said he feels ready to make the step up again away from the AlphaTauri team – but won't be going anywhere until the end of the 2023 season at the very earliest.
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