Formula One: Gasly keeps options open after Red Bull extends Perez contract

AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly is seen ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. PHOTO: REUTERS

BAKU (REUTERS) - Pierre Gasly said he was keeping all his Formula One options open after Sergio Perez's Red Bull contract extension effectively ruled the Frenchman out of a near-term move back up to the champion team from sister squad AlphaTauri.

Perez was handed a two-year deal, announced shortly after he secured victory in Monaco two weeks ago, keeping the Mexican at Red Bull alongside world champion Max Verstappen until at least the end of 2024.

Gasly said the news did not come as a surprise with the 32-year-old having raised his game this season and enjoying a harmonious relationship with Verstappen.

"Based on what they expect from a second driver Perez ticks all the boxes, he is doing an amazing season, performing very well, fast, has some backing financially, good experience, and is a good fit for the team," Gasly, who has made no secret of his desire to be promoted back to the senior team, told reporters at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Thursday (June 9).

"It's not like it was a surprise at all for me, but obviously on the other side the impact it has on my career and with the ambitions I have is obviously affected so that's what we're discussing at the moment with (Red Bull adviser) Helmut (Marko) to obviously decide what's best for all of us, and how do we go forward from there."

Gasly replaced Renault-bound Australian Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull in 2019 but was demoted to AlphaTauri 12 races into the season.

He has since rebuilt his reputation and is now a race winner, having earned the Italian team a home win in Monza in 2020.

Gasly's current contract expires at the end of 2023 and the 26-year-old has been linked to several teams.

He remained tight-lipped on his options but didn't rule out remaining a part of the Red Bull programme while driving for another team, like Red Bull-backed Williams driver Alexander Albon.

"At the moment for sure beyond 2023 I consider all options as I don't have anything beyond that, so we'll see at the time," he said.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez celebrates on the podium after winning the Monaco Grand Prix. PHOTO: REUTERS

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