Franz Tost believes that Pierre Gasly was at risk of an early F1 exit if he was not released from his AlphaTauri seat.
Frenchman Gasly made the decision to leave the Italian team and end his Red Bull affiliation after six seasons in Formula 1.
First appearing for the Red Bull 'junior' team at the end of 2017, he was promoted to the main Red Bull team for 2019.
However, after underwhelming performances, he was demoted back to the junior team and shone as their lead driver, taking wins and podiums and putting himself back on the radar for rival teams.
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Gasly is believed to have been open to an AlphaTauri exit for some time, and transferred when the 2023 opportunity presented itself at Alpine.
AlphaTauri were keen to source a replacement before letting Gasly go, and duly signed Nyck de Vries for the coming season.
Team boss Tost believed that it was important for the 26-year-old to make a move or risk losing his place on the grid altogether for 2024, something he also believed was "very fair" from Red Bull.
“This was the reason why Red Bull decided to release him from the contract,” Tost told The Race at the end of 2022.
“Red Bull decided not to take him. And Pierre wanted to go to another team. Because of all these changes with [Sebastian] Vettel stopping, [Fernando] Alonso going to Aston Martin, the seat at Alpine was free.
“Red Bull did something very fair to let him go to Alpine. This was clear for me, because otherwise the risk would have been far too great that he doesn’t have a seat for 2024. Then all the cockpits are full.
“It’s not an easy one [to accept Gasly’s exit]. But in the end I think it’s a fair decision.”
De Vries will partner Yuki Tsunoda, who enters his third F1 season, at AlphaTauri for 2023.
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