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EXCLUSIVE: Gasly and Famin on the driver’s decision to stick with Alpine – and the plans for the second seat

F1 Correspondent & Presenter

Lawrence Barretto
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Pierre Gasly had a swagger in Austria after news broke he had signed a new multi-year deal to stick with Alpine until at least the end of 2026. His boss Bruno Famin was very happy, too.

Both spoke exclusively to F1.com to understand why Gasly chose to stay despite having options elsewhere and why the team were set on keeping their man. Oh, and we also get an insight into Alpine’s plans for the second seat.

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

Famin on Gasly staying

When Alpine parted ways with Esteban Ocon, who has raced for the squad since the start of 2020, Famin says they did so in the knowledge they wanted keep Gasly to ensure stability with one seat and have a fresh start and new ideas with the other.

“We all know that with Esteban, we were at the end of the cycle, it was five years,” says Famin, when we chatted in Alpine hospitality. “It was difficult to keep both because we need to renew, like we do on the engineering side, we need to renew the blood to improve, to change the process.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 27: Pierre Gasly of France and Alpine F1 walks in the Paddock during

Pierre Gasly has agreed a multi-year extension with Alpine

“That’s why even if he brought a lot to the team, the time for Alpine and Esteban was over. Then we keep Pierre, because I think he still has a lot to bring to the team. He will develop in a different way, with a different image, and that’s it.”

Gasly – who is believed to have agreed to stay some time ago – edged out Ocon by four points in the battle for P11 in the drivers’ standings last year. This season, it’s been just as tight, with Gasly edging it by five points to three, having scored in each of the last three Grands Prix.

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

The Frenchman’s form, relative to Ocon, made him an attractive prospect to rivals. With Alpine struggling at the start of the year – they qualified with both cars on the back row of the grid in Bahrain – and having lost a suite of senior staff in the last year or so including the CEO, Team Principal, Chief Technical Officer, Sporting Director, Technical Director and Head of Aerodynamics, it’s understandable that Gasly was pragmatic in covering all bases in case Alpine spiralled and didn’t turn things around.

At least three teams are believed to have had discussions with him. But as those talks went on, Alpine continued to press him to stay while simultaneously improving their form – to the point where they are fighting back towards the front of the midfield and in the fight to get a point or two. Famin believes the work behind the scenes to generate that improvement helped convince Gasly to stay.

Bruno Famin of Alpine F1 Team is speaking during the official team principal press conference of

Team Principal Bruno Famin is very happy to have Gasly signed on

“Since Bahrain, we made quite an interesting step,” admits Famin. “But we are still not where we want to be. We’re happy with the evolution, but we’re not happy with the position.

“Sure the improvement helped. If we were still on the last row in [last time out in] Barcelona, we would have had less power in convincing him of the project.

“What he has seen, since the beginning of the year to now, is evidence of what we want to do with the project. The fact David Sanchez joined the project two months ago [to head up the technical organisation, having recently worked at McLaren and Ferrari] is a real plus.

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“We saw immediate change first in the mindset, secondly in the direction of working technically. It’s all good signs. And that’s why we decided to continue together.”

He adds: “He trusts Luca [de Meo, Renault Group CEO] and he trusts the project. We want to improve a lot, to keep building the project. I think Pierre is convinced we will do everything to make sure we have the best possibility to make a much better team in the coming years because we have the support of the leadership team.”

Gasly 'very happy and excited for the future' with Alpine after signing a new multi-year extension

Gasly on staying at Alpine

Alpine say they kept Gasly because they felt there’s so much more to come – and that’s a view echoed by the Frenchman, who feels he’s got unfinished business with a squad he only joined 18 months ago.

“I have taken the time to seek the answers I was looking for,” says Gasly. “From the start, I always felt like my heart wanted to continue with the team. It’s for different reasons. It’s a French manufacturer, the factory is less than a couple of kilometres from my town and I have this special connection with the brand.

“I also feel like I haven’t achieved anything near what I wanted to achieve when I signed initially, two years ago. It feels like it would be a shame to stop here. I always felt like I wanted to continue.”

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Famin hinted the way the team had reacted to their dismal start to the year had played a part – and Gasly concurred with that train of thought.

“I know it is a bit controversial, as at the moment, the performance is not great on the track,” he says. “But I still think over two or three months, the team still showed me quite a lot, because when you look at where we were last week, compared to where we started in Bahrain, it’s still a big jump, and a big step forward, which I don’t think other teams managed to achieve.”

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Alpine F1 A524 Renault on

There has been a big step forward in performance from the team

Every driver wants to be loved with Alpine throwing the kitchen sink at wooing Gasly, reiterating that it was him rather than team mate and countryman Ocon who they believed was the right driver to take the team forward and achieve their ambitions of becoming a front running team.

“I’m very happy, I’m confident with the decision to continue with the team, as I believe it’s the best for my future – and for the future of the team,” says Gasly. “They have been very pushy since the start, as in willing to sign me. As a driver, it’s very important to see that willingness and support from the team.”

READ MORE: Former Alpine tech chief Matt Harman heads bumper list of 26 Williams hires as team bolster technical structure

It’s clear his bond with the big boss De Meo was critical in his final decision, the Renault Group CEO giving enough assurances about the brand’s commitment to the success of the project to gain Gasly’s trust and get a deal over the line.

“Luca and I always had a good connection,” says Gasly. “Sometimes it happens where with some people it just clicks. I would say three years ago was the first time I got to meet him in the paddock.

“Once the negotiations started with Alpine, I was in contact with him, and he has always been very open and transparent and very trustworthy which is something that is important for me in the way that I work.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 23: Luca de Meo, CEO of Renault walks in the Paddock prior to the F1 Grand

Gasly's connection with Luca de Meo, CEO of Renault, proved a critical factor in his decision to continue with Alpine

“I think it reassured me on the commitment and the team and their ambitions. He isn’t just in F1 to be part of F1, he’s in F1 to put Alpine on the top step in F1. Sometimes it’s forgotten that Renault is one of the biggest automotive groups worldwide. It’s an extremely powerful group, they have extreme resources, which is why it was very appealing to me.

“There is a lot of work to be done to see the team performing at a similar level than the top guys at the minute – but I do think it’s a step they will be able to take.”

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Famin on Gasly's team mate

Alpine have said they will announce their second driver in due course, with Carlos Sainz – who is on the market after losing his Ferrari seat for 2025 to Lewis Hamilton – understood to be their prime target.

Talks with the Spaniard’s representatives have been going on for some time, with the French manufacturer having recently improved their offer in a bid to secure the three-time race winner.

Famin, though, was remaining tight-lipped about progress.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari walks in the Paddock prior to the

Carlos Sainz is believed to be Alpine's prime target for the second seat

“We are working on it,” he said. “We take our time. We are in no hurry. We take the decision when we need to take the decision. We have no pressure on deciding quickly for the second driver.

“We are very comfortable, as anyway, we have our Academy drivers, who are good drivers. We have no stress at all. The second one will come in due time.”

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

Reserve driver Jack Doohan and F2 racer Victor Martins are those two under consideration, with Mick Schumacher also in the mix.

Doohan and Schumacher are testing a 2022-spec Alpine next week at Circuit Paul Ricard to give Alpine a chance to further assess their respective capabilities.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 23: Jack Doohan of Australia, Reserve Driver for Alpine F1 looks on from

Alpine reserve driver Jack Doohan is also under consideration for the second seat

Running a young driver in 2025 is less of a risk as it gives them a chance to build up and get comfortable with the team before the new regulations are introduced the following season.

With Sainz a possibility along with experienced racer Valtteri Bottas, plus a choice of young drivers, it’s understandable Alpine are relaxed about the situation.

“We have a plan,” says Famin. “That’s why we have no stress about our second seat.”

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