BWT Alpine F1 Team and Scuderia AlphaTauri completed their driver lineup for the 2023 FIA Formula One World Championship season in a move that will feature a notable calling a new team home and another set to embark in his inaugural full-time stint in the highest class of international motorsports competition.
For Alpine, the team will be featuring an all-French driver lineup for the upcoming season as Pierre Gasly will be departing AlphaTauri to occupy the final vacant seat at the French organization on a multi-year basis, where he will be competing alongside Esteban Ocon. The competitor who will be taking over Gasly’s ride at AlphaTauri will be Nyck de Vries, a newcomer who will be competing alongside Yuki Tsunoda.
The news of Gasly’s transition to Alpine comes nearly four months after the 26-year-old native from Rouen, France, was initially set to remain at AlphaTauri for the 2023 season. When two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso announced in August that he will be departing Alpine to join Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team for the upcoming season, an opportunity for Alpine to recruit Gasly for the 2023 season had since been brewing before becoming official as the 2022 season nears its conclusion.
For Gasly, the 2022 Grand Prix season will mark the end of a nine-year journey as a Red Bull-affiliated competitor that commenced when he joined the Red Bull Junior Team for the 2014 season. Three years later, he made his Grand Prix debut at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit before becoming a full-time F1 competitor for AlphaTauri (known previously at Toro Rosso) in 2018. The following season, he was promoted to Red Bull Racing, but ended up being demoted to Toro Rosso midway into the season. Despite his demotion, he went on to achieve his maiden podium after finishing second at Brazil’s Interlagos Circuit. In 2020, where Toro Rosso was rebranded to AlphaTauri, Gasly achieved his maiden Grand Prix victory at Italy’s Monza Circuit following a late battle with Carlos Sainz Jr. With his victory, he became the first French competitor in 24 years to win in F1 and he recorded the second career victory for AlphaTauri. He has since notched his third career podium after finishing third at Azerbaijan’s Baku City Circuit in 2021.
Through 104 career starts in F1 (five full-time seasons), Gasly has achieved one victory, three podiums, 332 points, 26 laps led and an average-finishing result of 10.9. His best result in an F1 standings is seventh in 2019 while his best accumulated points in a season is 110 in 2021. He is currently ranked in 13th place in this year’s drivers’ standings with 23 points while AlphaTauri is ranked in a tie with Haas for eighth place in the constructors’ standings with 34 points.
“I am delighted to join the Alpine family and begin this new chapter in my Formula 1 career,” Gasly said. “Driving for a team that has French roots is something very special. I know the strengths of Alpine having raced against them over the past couple of years and, clearly, their progress and ambition is very impressive. I wish to thank Red Bull as this marks the end of our nine-year journey together. It is thanks to their trust and support that I became a Formula 1 driver, and what we’ve achieved with Scuderia AlphaTauri over the last years has been very special. Looking ahead, I want to give the maximum and utilise all my experience to fight for podiums and ultimately contribute to Alpine’s fight for championships in the future.”
“I’m very happy that Pierre will be joining the team for 2023 and beyond,” Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal of Alpine, added. “He is already a proven talent within Formula 1, and we are looking forward to harnessing that within the team. Our team has several objectives for the coming seasons and I firmly believe our driver line-up is a great reflection of the team’s high ambitions. I trust Pierre and Esteban can, together, motivate the team to continue its progress towards these goals. We would also like to thank Red Bull for agreeing the terms to allow Pierre to take this step.”
Meanwhile, De Vries, a 27-year-old native from Uitwellingerga, Netherlands, had spent the majority of this season as a test and reserve competitor for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team while also participating in FP1 (free practice session) outings for Mercedes, Aston Martin and Williams Racing. He made his Grand Prix debut at Monza Circuit in September as an interim competitor, where he replaced Alex Albon in one of Williams’ two seats after Albon developed appendicitis prior to the event. During the main event, De Vries garnered heavy attention within the F1 garage when he notched an impressive ninth-place result and achieved his maiden two points in F1 competition. Upon his strong debut in Italy, the talks of de Vries potentially moving up to full-time F1 competition commenced.
Prior to his F1 debut, De Vries won the 2019 Formula 2 Championship along with the 2020-21 Formula E World Championship. He is also a two-time Karting World Champion, having won in back-to-back seasons (2010 and 2011), and the 2014 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0
“I’m extremely excited to be joining Scuderia AlphaTauri for 2023 and I want to thank both Red Bull and the team for giving me the opportunity to drive in F1,” De Vries said. “After Formula 2, I took a slightly different path with motorsport, but F1 has always been my dream and I’m grateful to be able to fulfill it. I’ve had a lot of chances to experience the 2022 car this year and I think that has put me in a great position for the upcoming season, I hope this has helped to prepare me for what is to come. Having spent most of my teenage years in Italy for karting, I’ve always felt at home there, so for me it’s great to be joining an Italian team, that already has a real family feel, and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and to start to build our relationship before the next season.”
“Scuderia AlphaTauri had a very successful time with Pierre,” Franz Tost, Team Principal of AlphaTauri, added. “We will never forget his fantastic victory in Monza and his podium finishes in Brazil and Azerbaijan. I want to thank Pierre for all the effort he’s put into the team in the last years, and I wish him all the best for his future. Now, we are pleased to start a new chapter with Nyck, who’s very much welcome at Scuderia AlphaTauri. He is a very high skilled driver, as he won in all the categories he competed in, with many races and championships under his belt. His last big success was winning the Formula E World Championship, and this is clear evidence that he is a very competitive driver, who deserves a seat in F1. I am looking forward to seeing him in our car and I’m confident that with Yuki and Nyck we will have a very strong driver line up for 2023.”
With their plans for the upcoming season finalized, Alpine and AlphaTauri set their sights towards the remaining five events of the 2022 season, beginning this weekend at Suzuka International Racing Course for the return of the Japanese Grand Prix. The event is scheduled to occur on Sunday, October 9.