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
Grading F1's 2022 drivers at half-term Plus

Grading F1's 2022 drivers at half-term

Over the first 13 races of Formula 1's new ground effects era, Max Verstappen has surged into the lead in the world championship over Charles Leclerc. But as the 2022 season prepares to roar back into life, who stacks up as the top of the class, and who must do better? We graded every driver based on their performances so far

The 10 stories to watch out for across the rest of the 2022 F1 season Plus

The 10 stories to watch out for across the rest of the 2022 F1 season

It’s 13 down, nine to go as the Formula 1 teams pause for breath in the summer break. But what can we expect to happen over the next three months from Belgium to Abu Dhabi? Here's the key storylines to keep an eye out for the rest of the 2022 season

Formula 1
Aug 18, 2022
The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream Plus

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream

OPINION: The Formula 1 grid's wait for a new American driver looks set to continue into 2023 as the few remaining places up for grabs - most notably at McLaren - look set to go elsewhere. This is despite the Woking outfit giving tests to IndyCar aces recently, showing that the Stateside single-seater series still has some way to go to being seen as a viable feeder option for F1

Formula 1
Aug 17, 2022
How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022