Pierre Gasly is being held against his will in a deep dark void of the Red Bull Racing driver development program. Not that Gasly needs any more development, he is a Grand Prix winner and an occasional podium finisher. How much more can the Red Bull driver development program teach him? And why does Red Bull feel the need to hold Gasly against his will, chained to the whims of a here today gone in sixty seconds philosophy? The Red Bull driver development program is a brutal boot camp and its commandant, Mad Dog Marko, is the goose-stepping perfectionist who can end careers and destroy confidence with a non-verbal thousand-yard stare.
When Gasly drove for Red Bull F1 he was chewed up and spat out in just half a season. He was demoted back to Alpha Tauri, which is a Red Bull satellite team for the doomed. However, Gasly regrouped his mental focus and went on to win the 2020 Italian Grand Prix. He seems better suited at Alpha Tauri, perhaps the orbital influence of the Mad Dog is too distant to have any effect.
Looking at it all from the outside, it is impossible to tell if Dr. Helmut Marko’s public persona is entirely different from his private persona. He may well be a friendly chap who likes to spend time with his family, read poetry and talk philosophy away from the constant glare of F1. But in the world of F1 he plays the role of the villain really well. If indeed he is role-playing. We will never know.
With rumors circulating that Alpine F1 is interested in acquiring Gasly, the dogmatic Mad Dog is suddenly being uncharacteristically praise-worthy towards Gasly in a vain attempt to keep the Frenchman in a permanent choke-hold.
Mad Dog Helmut Marko:
“He’s always on top of his game and in top form. With Alpha Tauri, the package fits perfectly. The combination is a great fit. We still have a contract that goes for two more years. I don’t know where the talk about Renault [Alpine] came from again.”
“Pierre is the ideal ambassador for AlphaTauri as the slightly fashionable Frenchman. But what is strong is his performance in the car. He lost [engine] power in the race in Baku. The fact he kept [Charles] Leclerc behind him was quite a great performance.”
If Gasly has any sense, and he has plenty, he should jump ship as soon as possible. If Alpine offers him a crate of Bananas in lieu of a salary, he should accept those terms. What the Mad Dog is saying and what it reveals is an individual who is more machine than human. The Mad Dog algorithm is unbeatable. But all Pierre Gasly needs to do is simply turn the switch off and flee.