ANALYSIS: Why Alpine were so keen to keep Gasly at the team – and their plans for the second seat

F1 Correspondent & Presenter

Lawrence Barretto
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Alpine have done their first bit of driver business for 2025 by extending Pierre Gasly’s stay at the team for 2025 and beyond – but why were they so keen to keep him and what are their plans for the second seat?

When Alpine decided to part ways with Esteban Ocon at the end of this season, concluding what will have been a five-year collaboration, they did so in the knowledge that they were keen to – and close to agreeing a deal to – retain Pierre Gasly.

READ MORE: Gasly commits future to Alpine after agreeing multi-year extension

The lines of communication about a renewal have been open for more than six months, with Gasly believed to have spoken to at least three rival teams about potential vacancies.

Given Alpine’s woeful start to the year – where they were the two slowest cars in qualifying – it’s not surprising that one-time Grand Prix winner Gasly did his due diligence elsewhere on the grid.

It is understood the Frenchman was keen on a move to Mercedes, when news broke that Lewis Hamilton would be leaving a year earlier than planned, but when it became clear they were focused on bringing protégé Kimi Antonelli through, Alpine became the most likely landing spot.

READ MORE: Mick Schumacher to test Alpine F1 car at Paul Ricard as team continue to assess 2025 options

It helped, of course, that Alpine stemmed the slide quickly and it was clear behind the scenes that progress was on the horizon, the results of which have played out over the last three events – with Gasly scoring in each of them and Alpine starting to consistently fight at the top of the midfield.

He was also convinced of the changes being made behind the scenes, including those led by Team Principal Bruno Famin and new Executive Technical Director David Sanchez, who joined from a short stint at McLaren and had had extensive experience at Ferrari before that.

The deal is multi-year, running until at least the end of 2026 – with the team keen for continuity not just into next season but also the following year, when new aerodynamic and Power Unit regulations are set to be introduced.

MONTREAL, CANADA - JUNE 9: Bruno Famin of France and BWT Alpine F1 Team during the F1 Grand Prix of

Gasly is also said to be convinced of changes behind the scenes being led by Team Principal Bruno Famin

Having someone of Gasly’s experience in F1 and with the team for that transition will be very useful as the Enstone team look to make the most of a rule change to leap up the pecking order.

The long-term deal gives Gasly, 28, stability, too, and is evidence that the team back him to play a significant role in their rebuild.

READ MORE: Alpine announce further team changes as Flavio Briatore returns in Executive Advisor role

Alpine eyeing swoop for Sainz

Naturally, attention is now focused on the second seat at Alpine and while the team have several options available to them, the driver they really want is Carlos Sainz.

The Spaniard, who spent a season and a bit at Enstone when they ran under the Renault banner between 2017 and 2018, is on the look-out for a seat after losing his Ferrari ride to Hamilton for 2025.

Williams and Sauber/Audi have been pushing hard, both privately and publicly to secure his signature, but Alpine’s pursuit has gone somewhat under the radar.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 20: Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari signs autographs for fans during

Alpine are eyeing Carlos Sainz for their second seat

Sources say talks have been going on for several months between the Sainz family and Alpine, and while they weren’t as serious as those with Williams and Sauber/Audi, they have intensified following an improved offer from the French manufacturer.

I understand Sainz has yet to decide which of the three offers – from Williams, Sauber/Audi and Alpine – to take.

READ MORE: Famin gives response over Doohan’s chances of securing 2025 race seat with Alpine

While he is keen to sort his future, he is also keen to make the most of his remaining opportunity with a race winning car before trading it in for what will likely be midfield machinery whatever package he chooses.

It means Alpine must wait – while continuing to chase Sainz along with Williams and Sauber/Audi.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Jack Doohan of Australia and Alpine F1 arrives into the Paddock prior

Jack Doohan is expected to be the frontrunner if Alpine opt for youth in the second seat

Should they miss out on Sainz, they have a decision to make. Do they go for youth, and back their Academy, proving that you can go all the way to F1 if you sign up? Or do they choose experience?

If it’s youth, reserve driver Jack Doohan is believed to be the frontrunner, ahead of Victor Martins – the Australian having impressed with his efforts when testing a variety of Alpine F1 machinery.

READ MORE: ‘My dream is to be on the grid’ – Doohan adamant he is ready for F1 as he eyes vacant Alpine seat

If it’s experience, 10-time race winner Valtteri Bottas is a contender, the Finn someone who boss Famin is believed to admire.

For now – it’s a bit of a waiting game for Sainz – but either way, given where Alpine were a few months ago (languishing at the back with the immediate future looking bleak), they are in good shape both on-track and off it when it comes to the driver market.


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