After Fernando Alonso’s unexpected departure to Aston Martin Racing, the Alpine Formula 1 team announced the promotion of Oscar Piastri to F1 to take the Spaniard’s seat. The Australian youngster currently racing in F2 was not aware of this and was surprised by the news on social networks. So it was another Formula 2 driver who offered a surprise bid and his services to Alpine before Pierre Gasly arrived.
The paddock was not expecting such a move from Alonso. To everyone’s surprise, the legendary Fernando Alonso announced a few weeks ago that he was leaving Alpine to join Aston Martin Racing. In a panic, the French team made Oscar Piastri the replacement as the team thought the youngster’s services were concrete, but to the great surprise of the French team, the Australian declined the offer on Twitter, preferring to sign for McLaren.
At that time, Pierre Gasly was not yet on Alpine’s radar and F2 driver Jack Doohan tried to take advantage of this.
“I sent him a DM on Instagram!”
Following Oscar Piastri’s tweet, who was surprised by his appointment to Alpine without consent, Jack Doohan, an Australian driver who competes in Formula 2, tried to take advantage of Fernando Alonso’s seat that became vacant without a replacement.
In an interview with the French press, Doohan said: “All this news came out and then… I didn’t have Laurent Rossi’s number or anything. So I sent him a private message on Instagram, basically a huge, huge, long paragraph saying why I think I might be a candidate in the future!”
The opportunistic Australian explains that the French company boss replied to his message:
“He wrote me back at 3am, I think he was in the US or something, with his number at the bottom and said we should talk in the next few days,
“I spoke briefly to Otmar the following night and every day I tried to speak to everyone I could in all departments of the Formula One team and in all parts of the structure, across the academy.”
Jack Doohan is the son of motorcycle rider Mick Doohan, who is a five-time 500cc world champion of almost legendary status.
Doohan started his single-seater career at the age of 15 in the F4 British Championship with the TRS Arden Junior Racing Team, alongside fellow Red Bull junior Dennis Hauger. He scored three wins throughout the season, with his first car racing victory coming at Thruxton. The Australian finished fifth in the standings, just one point behind Hauger. A very impressive start to car racing and one that got noticed.
That year Doohan also participated in both the German and Italian Formula 4 championships for Prema Powerteam on a part-time basis.
After two years in Formula 3, the up and coming Australian made it into F2 for just the final two rounds of the 2021 championship. He achieved a best finish of 5th in just his 2nd race, in Jeddah.
For the 2023 season, the Australian is currently 4th with three wins and numerous podiums with two weekends to go.
For FP1 of the Mexican Grand Prix, Jack drove for Alpine, another step towards his dream of competing in the championship. The youngster finished the session 19th, 3.908s off the top spot, having finished early due to a problem with his car.
“It was a fantastic experience to drive in Free Practice 1 today, so thanks to Alpine for giving me that opportunity. I put in a lot of preparation for today including working with the engineers at Enstone and at the circuit as well as driving on the simulator”
“It was an opportunity”
Jack Doohan tried everything to sign for Formula 1, but even though his Instagram attempt failed, he has no regrets:
“It was an opportunity and even though it was a far-off or far-fetched opportunity for me, at least now I know I’m not sitting here thinking ‘I wish I’d pushed a bit harder, I wish I’d tried’,
“Wherever I end up, it will be a bonus. I wish I’d had the seat but who knows? Everything happens for a reason. Maybe now I’ll be more ready than ever when the time comes, and it’s good to know I have the support of the team to know I can be called up if the opportunity arises.”
Amazing to experience my first test day in a @F1 car. For something I’ve been dreaming of ever since I was a little boy to become a reality was very special and I can’t thank @AlpineF1Team enough for giving me this opportunity. pic.twitter.com/YLVzeSYGSw
— Jack Doohan (@jackdoohan33) May 19, 2022