Pierre Gasly was in serious danger of missing out on a 2024 Formula 1 seat if Red Bull didn’t allow him to be released to Alpine, according to Franz Tost.
Gasly’s contract with AlphaTauri was due to expire at the end of the 2024 campaign, with the Red Bull sister outfit confirming his spot for 2023 last June.
However, a series of movements in the driver market opened up a spot at Alpine, with Fernando Alonso opting to depart in favor of Aston Martin.
Alpine negotiated with Red Bull, with the latter allowing the Frenchman to be released from his contract one season early.
Tost, who is the Team Principal at the AlphaTauri squad, says opting to retain Gasly within the Red Bull family risked his career in F1.
“This was the reason why Red Bull decided to release him from the contract,” Tost told The Race.
“Red Bull decided not to take him. And Pierre wanted to go to another team. Because of all these changes with [Sebastian] Vettel stopping, Alonso going to Aston Martin, the seat at Alpine was free.
“Red Bull did something very fair to let him go to Alpine. This was clear for me, because otherwise the risk would have been far too great that he doesn’t have a seat for 2024. Then all the cockpits are full.
“It’s not an easy one [to accept Gasly’s exit]. But in the end I think it’s a fair decision.”
Gasly has been replaced at the Faenza-based squad by rookie Nyck de Vries, who made his F1 debut at last year’s Italian Grand Prix with Williams.
At Alpine, Gasly is paired alongside compatriot Esteban Ocon as the team looks to grow on its fourth place finish in last year’s Constructors’ Championship.