Johnny Herbert has told Pierre Gasly that he must break away from Red Bull to fulfil his potential elsewhere, adding that he believes the Frenchman should already be offering his services to other teams.
Gasly's contract with Red Bull (until 2023) could end this season should the 26-year-old land an approach from a higher-placed team, RacingNews365.com understands.
Since being demoted by the team in 2019, Gasly has proven his worth with midfield team AlphaTauri, where he became a race winner in 2020.
But with Sergio Perez having been offered a new deal (until 2024) with the team, his chances of one day returning to the big team are now slimmer than ever.
Herbert: Gasly has to do what Ricciardo did
Herbert, who raced in 161 Grands Prix, believes Gasly should walk away from the Red Bull family at the earliest opportunity to avoid being kept at AlphaTauri "for the rest of his career".
He told F1 Nation: "I think he's got to do what Daniel [Ricciardo] did and break away. But this is the thing at the present time: those choices have shrunk a little bit.
"The thing that he's got to try and do is [position himself] so that when that window of opportunity happens, he's got to have that [freedom] that AlphaTauri, or Red Bull whatever, say: 'Were allowing you to go'.
"I think that is so, so important for him as a racing driver, because you don't want to be stuck in the same team, like AlphaTauri, as good as they are at supplying him with that car, for the rest of his career."
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Herbert says Gasly should already be offering his services to rival teams and pointed to Aston Martin, where Sebastian Vettel's future is anything but certain, as a potential destination for the Frenchman.
He said: "I think he should be straight there already, I think he should already be making enquiries to say: 'Yeah, I'm ready. I'm willing to come onboard.'
"I think that's where drivers sometimes have to make those harsh decisions, if you call it that. But from a career perspective, it'd be the right thing for him to do.
"I don't want Red Bull to sort of stop him blossoming at another team," he added.
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