Does Alpine make the same mistake with Doohan as with Piastri?  ‘We want to lend it’

Does Alpine make the same mistake with Doohan as with Piastri? ‘We want to lend it’

Alpine wants to see Academy driver Jack Doohan drive in Formula 1, but would prefer to loan him out to another team first. That is reminiscent of the situation of reserve driver Oscar Piastri, who did not wait for such a loan and then switched to McLaren.

Alpine must now find a new teammate for Esteban Ocon with Fernando Alonso leaving for Aston Martin and Oscar Piastri joining McLaren. According to team boss Otmar Szafnauer, there are no less than fourteen drivers on the shortlist for 2023, but the team wants to reduce that to three or four.

One is another Alpine junior: Jack Doohan. The son of motorcycle legend Mick Doohan is having a great season in Formula 2, where he may no longer be champion but can take third place. Moreover, he has done well in recent races.

Read also: Szafnauer does not fear the destruction of Alpine’s image after Alonso and Piastri.

“Jack has a great sense of timing, he’s doing really well at the moment,” Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi said. “Honestly, we already knew he is very fast and he has that raw speed, but he is also very mature. He shows that on and off the track.”

Loan Doohan

Talks have already taken place with Doohan. They are going ‘very interesting’ according to Rossi. “Something clicked: he made a great move.” Still, Alpine seems to be making the same mistake again as Piastri. Alpine wanted the Australian to first gain experience at Williams, after which he could start working at Alpine from 2025.

Piastri rejected the offer, which could also be dangerous for Doohan. “Regardless of his value, we still believe it is better for a young driver to start with a team where there is less pressure to perform. That’s better because you feel less pressure to score more.”

Also read: ‘Strange and utterly disturbing’: Piastri on the breach of trust in Alpine

“We know that makes a difference,” Rossi explains. “If you have more experience, you’d rather go fourth than seventh. It’s quite a job, it’s quite a different achievement. We know that teams like ours are under more pressure when it comes to the cost limit. So he’d rather destroy his front wing instead probably and find his limits in the new car, because the step is big from Formula 2 to Formula 1.”

Rossi insists this is a ‘normal way of doing business’. “That’s what everyone does. George Russell, despite his amazing talent, and Charles Leclerc basically had to improve their skills for a year or two on a big machine that is much faster than Formula 2,” concludes Alpine’s CEO.