Why 2021 is a vital year for Pierre Gasly
With a couple podiums and a race win under his belt, the Frenchman will be hoping to continue his excellent form this season.
Pierre Gasly had a stellar 2020.
The Frenchman consistently showed his ability, beating his Alpha Tauri teammate Daniil Kvyat and taking an incredible victory at Monza - but it is essential that he continues to impress this year.
After a difficult period with Red Bull in 2019, Gasly has looked rejuvenated since returning to the sister team. Yet this wasn't enough to see him return to the four-time Constructors Champions, as they chose Sergio Perez to replace the departing Alexander Albon.
Despite this, Gasly's form did earn himself a one-year contract extension to keep him in Faenza for 2021.
Gasly became the first Frechman to win a grand prix since Olivier Panis won the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix
This year is going to be incredibly important if the 25-year-old wants to return to a frontrunning team. Not only will he need to continue to show his pace, but Gasly will be up against the very talented F2 graduate Yuki Tsunoda.
The Japanese driver enjoyed a brilliant single season in F2, taking three wins and four poles. He is hotly tipped to be Red Bull's next driver; which means it is crucial that Gasly beats his new teammate to stay on Red Bull's books.
Alpha Tauri boss Franz Tost certainly believes Gasly has what it takes to return a top team soon, telling Gazetta dello Sport: "I think it’s good for Pierre to stay here, he loves the team and we love him.
"And if he shows the same performance as 2020, he will have a chance to go to Red Bull or another competitive team.
“He has everything to become a successful driver.”
Previous speculation has linked Gasly to Alpha Tauri's midfield rivals Renault, now known as Alpine. With new regulations looming for 2022, it is unknown whether or not the French team can return to the front of the grid.
The former GP2 Champion has already expressed his interest in returning to Red Bull, and the team may not want to let him move to a potential rival if he keeps performing well. A gap could potentially up if Max Verstappen decides to move on, with vacancies at Mercedes in 2022.
For now, all Gasly can do is keep proving his worth at Alpha Tauri this year and see what opportunities arise come the end of the season.