Alpine confirm F1 outing for academy driver

Following the controversy Alpine encountered with their academy driver Oscar Piastri last year, the French Formula One outfit could be forgiven if they decided to drop the spend on improving junior talent. 

The academy system itself is under threat given the ever reducing opportunity for the top teams to place their proteges with ‘back of the grid’ competitors.



Feeder teams for junior drivers disappearing

Haas F1 has proven that taking a Ferrari academy driver like Mick Schumacher just did not work for them and have reverted to employing two experienced drivers in their midfield battle.

Ferrari’s other feeder team Sauber will soon be gone as Audi take control and for certain will not be blooding Ferrari academy hopefuls when they enter the sport in 2026.

Alpha Tauri’s future is uncertain as feeder team for the Red Bull junior programme. 

They have recently announced Laurent Mekies will be joining the team as principal Franz Tost steps down. However the word is the ex-Ferrari man will be tasked with restructuring the Faenza based team and potentially relocating them to an English base prior to putting them up for sale.



Alpine planned to use Williams

This pretty much leaves Williams who are prepared to take on a junior driver, but even Formula One’s perennial ‘back of the grid’ team now insists on having one experienced driver in Alex Albon.

Alpine’s original plan for Oscar Piastri was to send him to Williams for a year while the team agreed a one year contract extension with Fernando Alonso. The young Australian would then replace Fernando at Alpine in 2024.

Of course Zak Brown and McLaren had different ideas as they stole away the Alpine trained racer into their own global driver portfolio.

Given the direction of travel Formula One is taking at present its difficult to see how the academy’s will survive and even how new young drivers will get their chance in the sport.

ferrari fail to entice RED BULL talent



Victor Martins to test F1 car

TJ13 suggested following Baku the six F1 Sprint events a year could become a mini-starter series for academy or reserve drivers because otherwise its unclear who is going to take a punt on young blood.

Given the depth of talent these days in F2 and F3 the academy system run by the Formula One teams appears almost redundant given the excess of talent waiting for a big break F1 opportunity.

Yet for now it rumbles on and Alpine have announced plans for two of their junior drivers to get an F1 ride this season.

Formula Two driver Victor Martins will make his F1 debut drive at a test event in Monza next Monday. Given the F1 teams are prohibited from running the current year’s car the French-Portugese driver will experience the A521 from 2021 which was piloted to victory in Hungary by Esteban Ocon.



Martins F2 form poor at present

Martins is currently suffering a slump in form ad languishes P15 in the F2 driver standings. Yet the young driver is clearly revealing in the upcoming opportunity.

“I am super excited to get my first taste in a Formula 1 car in Monza on Monday,” said Martins.

“It will be the first time I will work closely with the Alpine team at a track and to be able to have my first opportunity in an F1 car with them is pretty special.

“I aim to get a lot of track time and enjoy it all. I am really grateful to get this first chance thanks to Alpine and all the team.

“I have had my seat fit and we have completed some simulator work for it, which is all very exciting.

“Now I am just looking forward to getting out on track and maximise the opportunity to learn as much as possible.”

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Doohan gets an F1 outing

Given the cost of shipping a car with support crew to Italy and back Alpine have decided to maximise their efforts by also affording reserve driver Jack Doohan a full day in the A521 on Tuesday.

Doohan is fairing little better in F2 than Martins as he finds himself in P13 in the chase for the Formula Two title.

Alpine Academy director Julian Rouse is seen to see how the team’s young guns perform when given their chance.

“We are looking forward to having Victor test in the A521 in Monza and giving him his first run in a Formula 1 car.”

“He has spent time in Enstone preparing for his test, running in the simulator, and having his seat fit. During his time in the Alpine Academy, he has had some fantastic achievements, one of which being the current FIA Formula 3 Champion.

“Now he has progressed to Formula 2 and showing huge potential there it is definitely the right moment to see him test in an F1 car.

“We are pleased as an Academy to continue to support Victor in his development and extend opportunities when they arise.”

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