After Sergio Perez’s contract at Red Bull was extended till the end of the 2024 season, there was a short window of time in which Pierre Gasly’s future was uncertain. His earlier contract was set to run till the end of the 2022 season, and it was not out of the question that he would like to get a better seat in Formula 1.
Ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Gasly had talked about his future and said:
“My ambitions are higher than just fighting for a place in the top 10, I want more than that. In recent years I have proven what I am capable of. Also in more difficult times, because this year we are not as competitive as last season.”
Perhaps this had fanned the flames of the numerous rumours on his future. There were rumours that he may be up for contention at Mercedes and even McLaren. On the F1 Nation Podcast, Tom Clarkson had stated that he wants Gasly to ‘do a Carlos Sainz’ i.e. leave the Red Bull family, and then replace Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren.
Jacques Villeneuve had thought that Ricciardo will soon be replaced at McLaren, perhaps not by Gasly himself, but he thought that Ricciardo will likely be replaced soon. This is because, since his move to McLaren, Ricciardo has struggled to keep up with teammate Lando Norris, and struggled to adapt to the car. Ralf Schumacher didn’t think the Australian will be driving at McLaren for much longer either.
Daniel Ricciardo’s seat gets a little more secure
While Andreas Seidl had earlier hinted at a long-term future with Daniel Ricciardo, Zak Brown did not seem to be on the same page with him. As quoted by The Race, Brown had said:
“I’ve spoken with Daniel about it, we’re not getting the results that we both hoped for, but we’re both going to continue to push. We’ll just play it – I don’t want to say ‘one race at a time’ because we’re not going to one race at a time – but we’ll just see how things develop, what he wants to do.”
But Pierre Gasly‘s contract extension may have put these rumours to bed for a while. With Gasly set to stay at AlphaTauri for 2023 as well, it means that Ricciardo will certainly not be replaced by him prematurely, as Ricciardo’s contract runs for the same duration. Aside from Gasly, IndyCar’s Colton Herta (who was recently signed as McLaren’s development driver) may also take Ricciardo’s seat in the future, but that is certainly much more of a gamble than Gasly.
In Gasly, McLaren would have had a proven Formula 1 driver, but that is not the case with Herta, and it seems that there are not many other replacements on the horizon either. For now, if McLaren had wanted to replace Daniel Ricciardo, it seems that the opportunity has gone as quickly as it came and that Ricciardo will be staying with them for the foreseeable future.