The 2025 driver market is wide open – Where does that leave Gasly and Ocon at Alpine?
Once Lewis Hamilton smashed the 2025 driver market wide open when he agreed to join F1’s most famous team Ferrari next season, most of the grid – both teams and drivers – had to accelerate their thinking about their respective futures. Alpine are a prime example, with both Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly out of contract come the end of the season. So, what are they going to do?
What do Alpine do for 2025?
Alpine are in a bit of a sticky situation as both their drivers are out of contract at the same time, meaning there is a risk they’ll have to start next season with an all-new line-up, which is not ideal heading into a new rules cycle in 2026.
It’s therefore not a surprise that the team have long been in talks with both driver camps about the possibility of extending. Those talks are expected to become more frequent and formal now there’s a seat free at Mercedes – even if it is believed the Silver Arrows are not in a rush to decide - and both their charges will fancy their chances of grabbing it and racing alongside George Russell.
As expected, Team Principal Bruno Famin is keeping his cards close to his chest.
“We are very happy with our two drivers,” he told me. “We have a good relationship, we are talking well. They are working hard to help develop the team. And that’s it. Let’s see what will be the future.”
When I pushed him on discussions, he replied: “We are talking to them on a permanent basis. We were talking before the Hamilton announcement, we have talked since. We are transparent. They are transparent.
“We know what we want. We will see how the market develops. Of course, we are looking at everything. We have to be ready in case. Nobody knows what can happen. Let’s be vigilant.”
Regarding the necessary speed of a potential deal, Famin says that the team can “do it both ways” – either try and get something locked down quickly or they can wait given there is so much to play for on the market.
However, the reality is that they will want to do business on at least one seat sooner rather than later, and not get caught out in the past when they’ve lost drivers – such as Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri.
Then they can be afforded more time to sort the second seat. But they are aware that their drivers are coveted by others – more on that further down – and thus want to try and retain control of their own destiny.
What does Esteban Ocon do for 2025?
Esteban Ocon has had the luxury of a bumper three-year deal at Alpine and that has allowed him to focus on the driving and avoid the kinds of questions I asked him (about his future) when I saw him at Enstone last week.
The Frenchman has done a decent job at Alpine, outperforming Alonso in their final season together and being a decent match for Gasly last season – the highlight being his podium in Monaco.
When I asked him about his future, he replied: “I feel good here, but as you know, we don’t know what the future holds in Formula 1. At the moment, yeah, I’m focusing on the job I have to do this year.
“Do a good job on track and as long as you do that, you’re sure teams will want you. I feel in a good place at Alpine, it’s been many consecutive years. Let’s see what the future holds.”
Unsurprisingly, his name has been linked with Mercedes, the German manufacturer still managing his career and thus he will be in their thinking, given the support they continue to give him.
“I’ve got very strong links with Mercedes for many years,” said Ocon. “I’m part of their junior programme for a long time – and still am. As I said, we will see what the future holds. I’m fully dedicated to Alpine at the moment.”
You get the sense that Ocon’s number one goal will be getting the Mercedes seat given that’s exactly what he will have targeted when he signed up to his junior programme. Though he will know there are also more experienced drivers, with a better track record, out there.
He’s got options, though. He’s excelled at Alpine and sources say he’s of interest to the Sauber-Audi project, too.
What does Pierre Gasly do for 2025?
Pierre Gasly did a decent job in his first year at Alpine, taking a Grand Prix podium and a Sprint top three, but he will likely have hoped to have put more distance (it was only four points) between him and Ocon in the drivers’ standings.
The Frenchman has pedigree in F1 and is a race winner, of course, after that stunning drive for AlphaTauri at Monza in 2020 – and he’s super keen to be fighting for silverware on a regular basis. He also has a track record of getting on with his team mates.
With that in mind, talks are anticipated with Mercedes, as the Silver Arrows weigh up their options. For what it’s worth, Gasly – who turned 28 on Wednesday - feels like he’s in great shape.
“I want to be the best I can,” he told me. “I want to deliver the best job I can for the team, with the car I get given. Over the years, I feel I have improved myself, in the way I’m working with the team, with more experience, the way I’m approaching, and dealing with F1 challenges.
“I’m feeling a lot more complete than I was a few years ago. [I’m in] my prime, I’ve just turned 28. I’m feeling physically and mentally very well.”
When I asked if he called Mercedes boss Toto Wolff following the news, he said: “It’s the last year of the contract,” he said. “At the minute, my main focus is with Alpine. I’m fully onboard with the team. We know what we signed for. That’s what I’m fully working on. There are conversations going on with the team with Alpine, seeing what we want to do in the future.”
You would expect him to say that – there’s no need to give away talks with rivals. But over the coming weeks, his management are expected to accelerate their exploration of other opportunities – Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Williams, Sauber, RB, Haas all have free seats in 2025 along with Alpine – to avoid missing out on some pretty big opportunities.