Jack Doohan, Alpine, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022

Doohan’s practice run earns praise, but Alpine undecided over reserve role

2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer says junior driver Jack Doohan’s future with the team is not decided, after he made his Formula 1 practice debut at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Doohan, son of motorcycling world champion Mick Doohan, is currently racing in Formula 2 and is a member of the Alpine driver academy after joining this year. Over the summer, he was thrust to the forefront of the programme after the team’s reserve driver Oscar Piastri decided to turn down a race seat for 2023 and move to McLaren.

That put Doohan in contention for the vacant Alpine seat, which he ultimately missed out on when the team signed Pierre Gasly from AlphaTauri. However, Piastri’s departure meant Doohan received the Friday practice runs Piastri was originally intended to have.

Doohan covered 13 laps during his first run in opening practice for the Mexican Grand Prix last weekend, but was affected by multiple red flag interruptions and a mechanical problem on his car which ended his running early. He will be out in Alpine’s A522 again at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“He’s a very solid young man, I think very quick,” Szafnauer said of Doohan, who was 19th fastest and 3.9 seconds off the pace in FP1 at Mexico City.

“He had 13 laps in our car and he showed that in the 13 he got up to speed very quickly. But most importantly, we told him beforehand, ‘just drive within yourself, don’t go ten tenths’. And he didn’t.

“So the lap time that you saw, he was driving within himself, did exactly what we asked. His preparation was exemplary going in, he wanted to know everything. He is a good kid.”

Doohan is now in prime position to take over Piastri’s role as reserve driver and is on course to qualify for an FIA superlicence at the end of the season. He is also in contention to finish the year as F2 runner-up and be the highest placed rookie in this year’s championship,

“That decision hasn’t been made,” said Szafnauer when asked if Doohan could be the team’s reserve driver next year. “So for us to confirm that, I’m telling you it hasn’t been made.

“First the decision and then the announcement. Like my mother used to say, ‘first the wedding, then the baptism’.”

He added Alpine has been in discussion with a few other drivers for that role, but reiterated that Doohan is an “impressive young man” and that Alpine were “grateful to have him as part of our academy”. For next year, regardless of if he lands an F1 role, “his focus will be to win the F2 championship”.

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2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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10 comments on “Doohan’s practice run earns praise, but Alpine undecided over reserve role”

  1. Smart. Wouldn’t want to make a decision to soon and risk the driver looking elsewhere for a team that isn’t so wishy-washy.

  2. petebaldwin (@)
    5th November 2022, 12:18

    “First the decision and then the announcement. Like my mother used to say, ‘first the wedding, then the baptism’.”

    No – that’s where you screwed up last time. First the decision, then the discussion with the people involved, then the announcement.

    Your mother has it wrong as well – there’s a fairly crucial step between the wedding and the baptism….. It’s no use showing up at the church with an empty pram. “Oh sorry vicar, we were going to have a child first but decided to save time by skipping to the baptism!”

    1. Hehehehe lol.

    2. Great spot of what is missing there @petebaldwin. I really see why Alpine keeps just missing out on steps. :-)

  3. It is funny, ironic and self-oblivious of Alpine, but Doohan hasn’t been super impressive. It’s not exactly a Piastri situation. So, I can understand why they’re not locking themselves in. It’ll be years before they have an important opening again.

    1. Well it could be they need a reserve for the start of 2023 if Gasly racks up any more penalty points!

  4. They should get more pus on reserve.

  5. Alpine undecided over

    Seems to have some cycle redundancy 😁

    1. Woops, missing a stuff :

      I wanted to say :
      Alpine undecided over (put the subjet here)

      Cause they’ve been for Piastri, Alonso, now for Doohan …

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