Gasly 'surprised' by Red Bull snub, Perez won't 'rule out' 2021 seat

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Pierre Gasly admits Red Bull's decision to completely overlook him for 2021 has "surprised" him.

The Frenchman has been in brilliant form ever since returning to AlphaTauri, or Toro Rosso as it was, at last year's Belgian Grand Prix.

He would cap off that season with a podium in Brazil, and then this year he went even better by claiming a maiden Formula 1 at Monza last month.

Proving how good Gasly has been, in the first 12 races of 2020, he's scored the same number of points in a not-so competitive AlphaTauri as he did at Red Bull, and is only one point behind the man who replaced him, Alex Albon.

Yet despite all that, there was never any serious consideration given to him getting a second chance alongside Max Verstappen next year.

“I’m not disappointed, I’m just surprised,” said Gasly via RaceFans on Friday at Imola.

“14 years ago, Seb [Vettel] won a race with Toro Rosso, I’m the only other driver who won a race.

"Seb got promoted to Red Bull and won four titles with the team. So I must say I’m just surprised I wasn’t really considered.

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“I had two podiums with Toro Rosso, I think this season is going alright. On my side, the only thing I can do is try to put some strong performances to give me opportunities in the future. That’s the only thing I can do after everything is sorted.

“I don’t really want to think about this any more. I need to perform as much as I can for AlphaTauri. I’m happy to be here and just focusing on this weekend, trying to get the best result I can for the team.”

Before he was announced at AlphaTauri earlier this week, there had been some speculation Gasly had been talking to Renault about the seat currently held by Esteban Ocon.

"I’m performing at a great level, I’m able to show my potential, I’m able to show my speed, my skills," he said of his current situation.

"As I say I’m 24 years old, obviously my goal in Formula 1 is to fight at the top and fight for the championship.

“But at the moment I just need to perform and do the best job I can at the team I am in."

Though Gasly might be ruled out, the seat next to Max Verstappen does still have 'TBC' next to it as Red Bull give Albon until the Turkish GP to prove himself.

If not, they've confirmed Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez could be considered, with the Mexican now pinning his hopes on that place.

“I don’t rule them out, I think, at the moment," he said.

“Until they’re not confirmed they’re an option, the same as every team that hasn’t confirmed.  I think as the time is running there is very, very few opportunities to remain on the grid for next year.

“I think there is a very thin line in there,” he added. "There is a time where you take the risk, wait, and then see what happens.

“The season is coming to an end so I think it’s important for teams to know what’s going on, what’s happening going forward and for drivers too. I’m looking at all my possible options and I cannot take too long any more.”