Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has hinted at the possibility of a straight swap between Sergio Perez and Pierre Gasly.
Gasly had a short stint at Red Bull in 2019. He was clearly playing second fiddle to Max Verstappen and in the 12 races that they participated in together, he was out-qualified 11 times.
Gasly failed to get on the podium a single time, while the team saw Verstappen enjoy 5 such days and even record 2 race wins in this period.
Gasly was done away with mid-season and Thai-Brit driver Alex Albon was handed an opportunity.
Albon didn’t fare much better and in 2020, Perez won the second Red Bull seat alongside Verstappen.
Perez did a commendable job in his first season at Red Bull, where he claimed five podiums and a race win.
As a testament of these performances, Perez was offered another opportunity in 2022.
Gasly, meanwhile, had been honing his skills at AlphaTauri (named Toro Rosso at the time), where he managed to finish with three podiums and a race win.
Gasly’s deal with AlphaTauri runs till 2023 and he has been vocal about his desire to race for Red Bull once again.
Marko doesn’t want Gasly to leave
Marko is certain that he doesn’t want to see Gasly move from Red Bull’s junior team.
“If this contract expires and we can’t offer him any chance of promotion, we will most likely lose him. We don’t want that,” Marko said to Formel1.de before the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger also believes that both Perez and Gasly need to be assessed and a decision about who will race at Red Bull needs to be decided quickly.
“Gerhard is right [but] we currently have a contract with Checo and we have to compare the performance of these two drivers. With Checo we still have until the middle of the year,” Marko said.
“At such an early point in time when both still have zero points, there is no directing of the stable,” he said.
Marko was quick to point out that Perez did a good job in Saudi Arabia, where he was unfortunate not to record his third-ever race win.
“The car suits him better, he feels more comfortable and he knows the team,” he affirmed.
“We are very happy that this development has taken place.”