Alpine open to placing junior drivers with other F1 teams

Alpine is confident it can work with other Formula 1 teams to find seats for its young drivers in the future despite currently having no customer or affiliated squads

Alpine open to placing junior drivers with other F1 teams

As part of the rebranding of Renault's F1 project as Alpine for 2021, the French marque launched its 2021 academy on Wednesday, with three of its five members set to race in F2 this year.

Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard will return to F2 with UNI Virtuosi and ART Grand Prix respectively, while Oscar Piastri graduates to the category with Prema following his F3 title win last year.

PLUS: Why Piastri's F3 title was better than results suggested

Alpine Academy director Mia Sharizman outlined that both Zhou and Lundgaard are expected to fight for the F2 title this year after struggling to feature in the championship battle last season.

But Alpine appears limited on options to place its junior drivers in F1 moving forward. At the senior squad, Fernando Alonso has signed for 2021 on a two-year deal, while team-mate Esteban Ocon is out of contract at the end of the season.

Ferrari has been able to place its young drivers with both Alfa Romeo and Haas for 2021, while Mercedes has George Russell at Williams. McLaren was the only Renault customer team in F1 last year, but has since switched to Mercedes power units, leaving Alpine without any affiliation to other teams.

Sharizman accepted that it "doesn't make it any easier" for Alpine, but was confident there would be ways to work with other teams should it need to place its juniors without an existing affiliation.

"It is something that we have identified, ways and means to ultimately get the drivers to our seat," Sharizman said.

"Without a power unit supply or without any connections, there can still be a collaboration between other teams. I won't divulge too much into it.

"But having said that, we focus on what we have, we focus on the two race seats that we have, the academy that we have, and the tools that we have.

"Obviously, going into our team is the priority. But we believe that there is still room for collaboration with other teams, irrespective of the power unit supply."

Alpine ran all three drivers in private F1 tests last year, sampling the 2018-spec Renault car, but it is unclear what appearances will be afforded to them this year.

Despite having a trio of youngsters all looking to make the final step to F1, Sharizman felt each driver was at a different stage of their careers.

"The three of them are three different years, going into the championship: you have Zhou in his third year, Christian in his second year, and obviously Oscar is a rookie," said Sharizman when asked by Autosport how he planned to manage all three drivers.

"It's slightly a different proposition, and a different way of planning.

"It will bring the situation similar to what Ferrari has gone through last year. But at the moment, we do feel that for example in the case of Oscar, it would take time, but without that expectation, we are aware of how he can progress.

"We have to have a Plan A and a Plan B already for now. That is something that is in the back of our mind. We think it will be OK for us, and we can manage it well, and how we can ensure that the three drivers that we have get up to where they want to be."

shares
comments
McLaren CEO Brown eager to see calendar rotation in future F1 seasons

Previous article

McLaren CEO Brown eager to see calendar rotation in future F1 seasons

Next article

F1 drops rainbow branding in updated We Race As One initiative

F1 drops rainbow branding in updated We Race As One initiative
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Alpine
Author Luke Smith
How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare Plus

How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare

The 2020 Formula 1 season was Ferrari's worst for 40 years as it slumped to sixth in the standings. A repeat performance will not be acceptable for the proud Italian team, which has adopted a notably pragmatic approach to forging its path back to the top

Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery Plus

Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery

In the most eagerly anticipated Formula 1 team launch of the season, the rebranded Aston Martin squad’s changes go much further than the striking paint job. But rather than a restart, the team hopes to build on top of solid foundations.

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with Plus

The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with

The team formerly known as Racing Point gambled successfully on a Mercedes look-alike in 2020 as it mounted a strong challenge for third in the constructors' race and won the Sakhir GP. Now clothed in British racing green, Aston Martin's first Formula 1 challenger since 1960 provides the clearest indicator yet of what to expect from the new-for-2021 regulations

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The driver problems facing Mercedes in 2021 Plus

The driver problems facing Mercedes in 2021

Ahead of the new Formula 1 season, reigning world champions Mercedes will take on challenges both old and new. This also can be said for its driver conundrum which could become key to sustaining its ongoing success

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front Plus

How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front

A new name, new faces and new colours pulls the rebranded Alpine Formula 1 team into a new era while carrying over core elements of its 2020 car. But under the surface there's more than meets the eye with the A521 which hints at how the team will tackle 2021

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown? Plus

Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown?

Replacing Formula 1's fastest car was never going to be an easy feat for Mercedes. Amid the technical rule tweaks to peg back the W12 and its 2021 rivals, the new Mercedes challenger will remain the target to beat

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
The big F1 questions of 2021 Plus

The big F1 questions of 2021

After an unprecedented season last year, there are plenty of questions and storylines for the upcoming Formula 1 campaign. Sky Sports F1 pundit Karun Chandhok gives his verdict

Formula 1
Mar 1, 2021
The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era Plus

The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era

Ferrari is starting its post-Sebastian Vettel age by welcoming Carlos Sainz Jr in alongside Charles Leclerc. But while Sainz has a tough challenge to match his new team-mate, Ferrari is also sending a message that previous intra-team spats must end

Formula 1
Mar 1, 2021