Whether Pierre Gasly leaves the Red Bull camp to be replaced by American rookie Colton Herta in 2023 is solely down to the FIA.
That is the news from the mouth of Dr Helmut Marko, who admits it is possible that Gasly’s Alpha Tauri cockpit will be released in order to switch to Alpine.
“We can imagine a lot of things but the discussions are ongoing,” Red Bull’s Marko told Canal Plus.
“If all the conditions are met, he could leave,” the 79-year-old Austrian admits.
“I can’t talk about the conditions, but it does seem possible.”
Arguably the most obvious condition, however, is that the FIA agrees to an exception to its super license points rule – because Herta’s achievements in Indycar do not qualify him for the mandatory F1 credential.
“I think we can prove that Herta has the right to get a license,” Marko said. “The deal isn’t done yet but we are Red Bull and we are brave enough.”
At present, however, a deal does not seem likely because too many rival teams will not agree to overriding the strict super license rules.
“No,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Sky Deutschland.
“We have rules and the rules are there for good reasons. I understand that it’s frustrating for the Americans, but maybe they need to upgrade the Indycar series.
“But you’d still have to do that within the rules,” he insisted.
Even F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali is not opening the door for 22-year-old American Herta’s 2023 debut.
“Sports must respect the rules,” he said. “Of course American drivers are important to us, but in this situation the current protocol should be followed.”
So as it stands, if Herta cannot secure a F1 super license in the proper way, Alpine will have to give up the Gasly option.
“It would be extremely interesting to see how he (Herta) performs in Formula 1 and having a successful American driver is very interesting,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
“But we will not have a desire to replace Pierre if there is not an interesting alternative. And the super license is an FIA matter.”