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Analysis

Who should partner Gasly at Alpine in F1 2025? Our writers have their say

Sainz? Doohan? Bottas? Schumacher? Our F1 writers offer their views on who Alpine should hire to race alongside Gasly in 2025

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A524

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A524

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

With Pierre Gasly securing a new Formula 1 deal with Alpine, there's one fewer remaining seat to fill in the puzzle which is the 2025 grid.

It's no secret that the team has made a late push to lure Carlos Sainz, but the Spaniard has several offers that mean the French squad may have to look elsewhere.

So who are the best options? Our writers have their say.

Filip Cleeren: Sainz the obvious option if they can convince him...

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

For me, doing everything possible to sign Carlos Sainz feels like a no-brainer, and it seems like it took until F1's favourite paddock dweller Flavio Briatore coming on board as an advisor for Alpine and Luca de Meo to go flat out to sign the Spaniard.

Sainz was facing a choice between Sauber/Audi and Williams, and his reluctance to make a quick decision suggests neither party is particularly appealing, especially after vacating a race-winning seat.

Sainz being dropped from Ferrari to make room for Lewis Hamilton was very harsh on him, having made a solid pairing with Charles Leclerc that combines speed, experience and technical nous.

Alpine can certainly benefit from Sainz's technical input, as team principal Bruno Famin and incoming technical director David Sanchez face a big rebuild job over the coming months.

So, not only would it get a driver with five poles and three race wins, but also someone who has seen first-hand how a juggernaut Ferrari has turned its car project around over the past few years.

Perhaps the question is more whether or not Sainz should choose Alpine than the other way around, and - as is the case with Audi and Williams - it will be one giant leap of faith ahead of the 2026 rules reset.

If Alpine does go the customer power unit route with Mercedes, that will be one giant question mark off the table and make the team more appealing. But he might yet choose for Audi's works status, or have more belief in James Vowles's ambitious plans.

Alex Kalinauckas: It's time to give Doohan a chance

Jack Doohan, Alpine A523

Jack Doohan, Alpine A523

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Should Carlos Sainz spurn Alpine's advances, the team should look to correct the matter of the last time a successful Spanish F1 driver decided it wasn't worth his time and promote one of its junior drivers instead.

For Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri in 2022, read, with acknowledgements to the slightly differing circumstances, Sainz and Jack Doohan in 2024.

Doohan has been working as Alpine's reserve driver – a role that gets him considerable running in the team's TPC (Testing of Previous Cars) programme. This has been hailed by insiders in the junior categories as key to Piastri's rise to become a rookie Formula 2 champion in 2021, when he was testing old Alpine/Renault cars alongside then-fellow junior Zhou Guanyu.

Although Piastri did an Alonso and walked off to get a better deal elsewhere, his progress for McLaren and how Zhou hasn't exactly disgraced himself at F1 level shows the value of Alpine's junior preparations.

Doohan has also been playing other cards available to him when it comes to building momentum towards an F1 race seat this year. He's made regular appearances on F1 TV broadcasts and other media platforms. His understated style does him considerable favours in this regard.

The 21-year-old has impressed Alpine with his dedication to whatever task it has set him across the year so far. This includes his results in the TPC sessions, which next week includes an outing at Paul Ricard in the 2022 Alpine car Mick Schumacher will also drive.

It's unclear how Doohan's relationship works with new Alpine executive advisor Flavio Briatore, with some early reports suggesting the former Renault team principal was managing his career.

But the Italian is open to a blend of inexperience alongside the re-signed Pierre Gasly judging by his comments at the Spanish GP and this is probably Doohan's best hope of an F1 promotion.

Doohan does lack the junior category title that has shot most recent F1 graduates to the big time, but had he not been racing with a cracked chassis in the early stages of the 2023 F2 season where he finished third then he likely would've won that category last year instead given his points total since that problem was addressed by halfway stage of that championship.

Ben Hunt: Low-friction Bottas is what Alpine needs

Valtteri Bottas, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

Valtteri Bottas, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Valtteri Bottas is not a driver that many have picked as a potential candidate to fill the void at Alpine, but he would make perfect sense.

None of the other candidates can offer a CV that boasts 10 Formula 1 grand prix victories. Neither can they lay claim to having 232 F1 starts split across three different teams.

It makes Bottas perfectly placed to drive for the struggling Enstone outfit for he has seen both sides of the coin.

From his spell with Mercedes, he knows what it takes to perform at the sharp end, plus more importantly, what is required to get there.

He has also seen what life is like at the other end of the grid with Williams and Sauber and will be well-versed in the potential pitfalls to slip back there.

Consequently, he is perfectly placed in terms of his experience to help Alpine, which finds itself in the middle of the grid.

The other aspect is that Bottas is incredibly low maintenance, a quality that should not be underestimated given the turmoil Alpine has faced.

A 'steady Eddie' is exactly what the team requires right now, not a jilted star who has lost his seat elsewhere and sees Alpine as a way to simply stay F1.

Neither do they need a rookie, or someone who has been sat on the sidelines.

They need someone who can deliver results and improvements. Someone who has a point to prove and will relish the opportunity.

Bottas is match-fit, tried and tested, low-friction and, importantly too, would presumably be considerably cheaper than Carlos Sainz.

He also offers Alpine a much-needed personality, plus a fun one at that!

After all the doom and gloom and flurry of departures, plus team-mates falling out, Bottas's appointment would go some way to restoring some positive morale within the team.

Oleg Karpov: Schumacher deserves another shot at F1 

Mick Schumacher, Reserve Driver, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, for Pirelli hot laps

Mick Schumacher, Reserve Driver, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, for Pirelli hot laps

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

I literally see people going, "What? That guy?", and it's almost uncomfortable to even suggest the idea of Mick Schumacher competing for an F1 seat. Because "he's driving so f***ing slow that he doesn't need the brakes at all!"

That's just one of Guenther Steiner's quotes about Schumacher on Netflix. There are a few more, also strong ones, and I think that's one of the reasons why a lot of people don't really buy into the idea of his comeback. He is simply made to look worse than he really is. A lot.

Schumacher's second year in Formula 1 wasn't bad at all. Yes, he didn't score as many points as Kevin Magnussen, but there are a few things that get forgotten about that year as well. A lot of the Dane's points were scored in the early part of the year, especially in Bahrain, where a lot of the top teams were still struggling with their cars.

Was Schumacher struggling early that year? Absolutely. But I am convinced that if he had scored points in one of those races, his season would have turned out much better. Confidence is a big thing for any athlete.

I also think people don't talk enough about the way he responded to his early season struggles, not only scoring points in Silverstone and Austria but also being quicker than Magnussen. Yes, he didn't score after that, but I'd be surprised if anyone would argue that Haas wasn't as competitive at the end of the year as at the start. 

Did he crash? Yes, he did. Like every F1 driver, especially in the early years of their career. But Mick's crashes were always in the media. Firstly, because of the extent of the damage, of course. Secondly, because on a number of occasions, the media was always given the figures for the cost of such crashes by Steiner. And to have that in the press, or to have a team owner come up to you on the grid and say 'just don't crash today', isn't very helpful for the confidence of a young driver.

Of course, nobody promised that F1 wouldn't be tough, but I think Schumacher could have done better with a different kind of threat. Maybe Haas, with its eccentric boss, wasn't the right place for Mick.

I'm not saying that he would be a better prospect for Alpine than Carlos Sainz, of course not. But if it doesn't work out with the Spaniard, I don't see any reason why Schumacher shouldn't be considered.

He's done his two years of hard learning at Haas and I think he's got a lot to offer, and I think Alpine is doing the right thing by putting him in the car for a test - just to really form an own opinion of him, without being distracted by Steiner's words.

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