Alpine expand junior F1 driver academy to eight members for 2023

Formula 2

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The Alpine Academy has expanded to eight drivers for 2023 following the merging of its affiliate programme into its main membership.

Under a strategy Alpine introduced last year, a driver had to be racing in Formula 3 or Formula 2 to become an Academy member. Anyone supported in categories below that were classified as affiliates to the young driver development programme.

Now Alpine have reversed that, bringing all its proteges under one umbrella in the Academy as was previously the case during the team’s years as Renault and Lotus.

Two Formula 2 drivers – Jack Doohan and newly-promoted F3 champion Victor Martins – remain in the Academy. Olli Caldwell, who placed 21st in his first full season of F2 last year, will no longer be an Academy member due to moving to sports cars this years. He is making that move with Alpine’s World Endurance Championship team and will still have access to all of Alpine’s driver development resources.

The first additions to the membership are in F3, as rookies Gabriele Mini and Nikola Tsolov become Academy members. Mini is a protege of Nicolas Todt, son of former FIA president Jean, and will race for Hitech GP in the FIA Formula 3 series.

Reigning Spanish Formula 4 champion Tsolov, meanwhile, is being promoted from affiliate status. The ART Grand Prix driver is staying with Alpine despite being managed by Fernando Alonso who has left the team to race for Aston Martin.

Caio Collet has been dropped from the academy ahead of his third season in F3, but will retain some kind of relationship with Alpine.

In Formula Regional, European championship runner-up Hadrien David has been dropped and rookie Aiden Neate joins. Neate, a British F4 race-winner, is the son of British Touring Cars racer Andy Neate.

Abbi Pulling has stepped down from Formula Regional to race for Rodin Carlin in the new, all-female F4-spec F1 Academy series. She has spent the past two years in W Series, another all-female championship, and is the sixth driver to be confirmed on the F1 Academy grid.

Matheus Ferreira steps up from karting to Italian F4 with Van Amersfoort Racing, and the Academy’s eighth and final member Kean Nakamura Berta continues in karts this year.

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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...

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3 comments on “Alpine expand junior F1 driver academy to eight members for 2023”

  1. Their competitors in F1 like this. Could even sponsor it…

  2. Maybe at some point they’re going to actually promote one of them to F1, who knows?

    1. @sjaakfoo They did well in preparing Piastri for a race seat at McLaren and Zhou at Alfa Romeo. Why bother with your own driver academy when you can just poach Alpine’s talent? If I was Red Bull/Williams, I’d keep my eye on Doohan.

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