As is well known, Alpine lost the poker game for the so called super talent known as Oscar Piastri. Now the French Formula 1 racing team has to find another successor for Fernando Alonso. The circle of candidates is larger than previously thought with the Alpine boss revealing a surprisingly long ‘short list’.
Who will sit next to Esteban Ocon in the second Alpine in the 2023 Formula 1 season? After the team lost the battle for Oscar Piastri in spectacular fashion, team boss Otmar Szafnauer is intensively probing the driver market and taking a close look at the drivers who could be their ‘plan B’.
“We have a long list,” Szafnauer revealed in an interview with Sky Sports. How long is this list exactly? In the past, he had named a total of 14 drivers:
“And that’s about right.” confirms Szafnauer, the team now wants to examine all options, the 58-year-old explained of the unusually long “short list”.
“We now have to break this list down to three or four drivers, then take a close look at these drivers and decide who fits best,” Szafnauer described the decision-making process.
For the team boss, there is no question that Alpine will find a suitable driver in the end, after all, the applicants are all top-class and want “probably the best seat that is still open in Formula 1,”
“For us, it is now a matter of finding the right driver,” said Szafnauer.
The 58-year-old did not mention any concrete names, but with a list of 14 drivers, some well-known drivers are likely to be in the draw. Apart from top favourite Pierre Gasly, we have also Mick Schumacher, who is leaving Haas, is almost certain to be one of them. Perhaps not because of his ability, but certainly because of his name.
Whether the German will make the shortlist in the end, however, is anything but certain. For one thing, Schumacher’s performance only partly meets expectations. On the other hand, the competition is not only well-known, but also has huge potential.
This is especially true for the American Colton Herta, who is still an unknown quantity in Formula 1 but could be a real hit from a marketing point of view. For many though, Herta is more likely to be off to the Red Bull junior team, Alpha Tauri. READ MORE ON THIS STORY
The US market is growing and growing, more and more races are taking place in the land of unlimited opportunities. Signing an American driver in the middle of this boom phase could pay off for Alpine on many levels.
The same applies to Pierre Gasly, whose signing would not have such a financial impact on Alpine. But the Frenchman has proven over many years that he is one of the better drivers in the top flight. And ultimately, this could bring the team something that is just as valuable as revenue: sporting success.
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JV is getting a run in last year’s car after the Italian GP. Possibly another name on the list? That would really top off a truly silly season.