Alpine open to placing F1 juniors with other 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 F1 juniors with other 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.

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 teammate 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.”

Read Also:

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 Motorsport.com 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

Related video

Brown hoping to see calendar rotation in future F1 seasons

Previous article

Brown hoping 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 Renault F1 Team
Author Luke Smith
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Prime

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments.

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Prime

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Prime

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Prime

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping .

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Prime

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is no guarantee.

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The themes to watch in F1's Imola return Prime

The themes to watch in F1's Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021