Mick Schumacher, Alpine, Le Mans, 2024

Schumacher and Doohan to test for Alpine as team seeks replacement for Ocon

Formula 1

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Alpine will test two drivers in a two-year-old Formula 1 car next week as the team considers its future driver options.

The team announced last month Esteban Ocon will leave at the end of the season. While Alpine is seeking at least one new driver, Pierre Gasly is also out of contract at the end of the year, and it could opt for an all-new line-up.

It confirmed today Mercedes reserve driver Mick Schumacher will test for them next week. Schumacher is also a member of Alpine’s World Endurance Championship team, but he is yet to score a point this year in the car he shares with Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere.

Alpine’s reserve driver Jack Doohan will also test for them again. Doohan, who finished third in Formula 2 last season, is not racing this year but drove Ocon’s car in first practice in Montreal, his fifth such appearance for the team since 2022.

Asked in Spain whether he had a list of drivers under consideration for next year, team principal Bruno Famin said: “The list looks good and the process is progressing well.”

The pair will drive Alpine’s A522 at Paul Ricard next week. The team said the run is part of their Testing of Previous Cars programme.

This is the first year F1 teams have been able to extensively test cars built for the revised technical regulations introduced in 2022 and several teams have taken advantage of the opportunity to run junior drivers in recent machinery. Mercedes have done the same with Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who is under consideration to take Lewis Hamilton’s place next year, and Schumacher has also participated in tests driving their W14.

Schumacher is seeking to return to Formula 1 after being dropped by Haas at the end of 2022 following two years with the team.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “Schumacher and Doohan to test for Alpine as team seeks replacement for Ocon”

  1. The Alpine livery down the side of the car is, I think, DWT, but whenever I see it at a distance on TV, I think it is a Snickers wrapper.

  2. I think Alpine will have to look for two new drivers, for Gasly any other team will seem more attractive than Alpine. My guess is that Audi will sign Gasly, if they can’t get Sainz. Alpine will have to take what they can get, either rookies or rejects from other teams. That would probably be Bottas and Zhou, maybe even Magnussen.

    If Bottas does get dropped by Audi he would be the obvious pick. In Alpine’s situation picking a rookie makes little sense, so Doohan is out. That leaves Schumacher, who may be picked because there is nobody else left.

    There may also be one other driver: Liam Lawson. So far Red Bull has not wanted to give him a seat, I personally feel they are still evaluating Hadjar and Iwasa, who both are having really good seasons. I see more potential there, than in Lawson. Red Bull may feel (contractually) obliged to find Lawson a seat and he may be a bargaining chip in engine supply deliberations.

    1. Not giving Doohan would make all that testing program he’s been doing useless, though, & also undermine Alpine’s driver program.
      For now, I still assume Gasly-Doohan, although even Sainz could be an option for them among others.
      Lawson isn’t realistically among them in any case, though, although if he doesn’t get a drive for next season, he’d become a free agent as far as information on the matter goes.

    2. Coventry Climax
      24th June 2024, 19:03

      Engine supply deliberations? Between Red Bull and Renault?
      You need to seriously check your medication.

    3. An Sionnach
      25th June 2024, 4:14

      With Briatore involved, I’d expect ruthlessness and a keen focus on results. Of course beggars (Alpine) can’t be choosers, but Mick will not get in unless he’s very impressive in testing. I would like to see him get another year in F1, but he will have to earn it. Briatore signed Michael from under the nose of Jordan, so I wouldn’t exclude Lawson or anyone else. Not that Lawson will want to go to Alpine, but he needs to be driving in F1 next year. If it is possible to get someone, even if it involves stirring things up, Briatore will try. I’m not sure if he’ll ease off due to everything that has happened, but I would hope not. He could be just the ingredient that the driver market needs to shake up unimaginative, staid choices.

    4. Not sure Alpine is that unattractive tbh. Start of the year, sure, but over the past few races they seem the #5 team on pace.

      Add to that the possibility of a sale to Cadillac/Andretti with all its cash, might be a decent option.

      Gasly might still prefer to leave because of team atmosphere of course, but performance wise I doubt he can do much better right now.

      1. An Sionnach
        25th June 2024, 19:17

        Yes, fair point. It’s difficult for drivers as the team performance has swung a lot. McLaren look super powered, Red Bull looks more like it’s clinging on with team and Max’s performances exceeding that of the car, Mercedes looks good, Ferrari is now flailing a little, Aston is in free fall(?), RB may need to revert to the previous car, Alpine’s performance in Spain bodes well for the rest of the season… and Briatore is about to sign an incredible unknown super talent(!), Williams looks pretty hopeless and may need a designer to go with this supposedly super 2026 engine, the other two haven’t changed too much.

  3. Do we think that Flavio will be sentimental to Mick?

    I can’t really think of an external driver who would like to come into the Alpine mess. I think Ocon will end up at Haas with Bearman, Valterri will end up back at Williams to work Vowles and Carlos will go to Audi (which we’ve suspected would be his 2026 destination since early 2023). That would leave Zhou, Sargeant and Magnussen without drives – none of which could complain about it.

    1. Can’t argue with that last sentence… But I wish there were more opportunities in F1 for drivers without a famous dad.

    2. Might Sainz give Alpine a shot? They’re ahead of Sauber and Williams now and they’ve won fairly recently with Ocon. Yeah, it’s chaotic there now but if I had to bet on which of those teams gets on the podium first I’d pick Alpine. Mick and Zhou are not drivers for an ambitious team.

      1. From sainz POV, I’d take alpine indeed over the other horrible choices he has, as for alpine they don’t look to me as an ambitious team at all, so they’re probably the ideal team to give mick a 2nd chance.

        I think zhou is at a similar level but was given more time already than mick was.

        1. Dane & Esploratore

          I can’t see Sainz at Alpine. Firstly because they are a rudderless mess, going back to a boss who last left in disgrace 15 years ago with no relevent recent experience. It’s as desperate a move as I’ve ever seen in F1 and the middle management, none of whom were worthy of promotion, will likely leave on mass. I can only see Flavio going in to keep the ship steady until Renault pull out, offering Andretti a chance – that’s too big a risk for Sainz to take with Audi on the horizon.

          Secondly, he’s already been there. His initial promise at Toro Rosso was undermined by an underwhelming season and a half and his stock was probably never lower than at that time. With no new investment, I can’t see Enstone as a place of happy memories for Carlos and I can’t see any scenario which he choose Alpine over Audi, Williams or even Haas.

      2. like an ambitious team*

    3. Do we think that Flavio will be sentimental to Mick?

      Isn’t Flavio Alonso’s manager? Maybe Mr. Famin is trying to get the Renault dream team back together?

      @bullfrog, I think Fernando has a son, maybe a future Flavio, Alonso, Alonso team??

      1. That would be incredible, as in a driver who goes on to be competitive long enough for his son to start racing, and then drive in the same team!

        By comparison, schumacher had already retired definitively late 2012, even before his ski incident, and his son only made it into f1 in 2021, if I recall, so 9 years later, and arguably schumacher shouldn’t have been driving in 2012, considering how competitive he was still late 2006, he should’ve just done a couple more years instead of taking a break.

        1. @esploratore1 The other spanish driver could almost claim that he is driving for the same team as his dad, if he signs for Audi. Admittedly not both in F1 but still both at world class level.

      2. Fernando has no children. He should find a talented female racer and make Max’s successor.

  4. Fun times at Alpine. Two mediocre drivers testing to replace another mediocre driver.
    Crazy to think that Alpine could have had one of the most formidable line ups on the grid if they retained Alonso and drew up an air tight contract for Piastri. Instead they’re stuck with an average driver who only raises his game only when racing his teammate, and another driver that isn’t quite interested in committing to them.

    1. Their disaster with Alonso and Piastri seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. That’s when the mass firings began. They learned an important lesson: don’t jerk Alonso around.

      BTW, I find it ironic that nobody minds Pat Symonds (the other architect of crashgate) kept working and was even named F1’s CTO and put in charge of F1’s technical rules or that many others who were involved in even more serious F1 sporting scandals are still in F1. They somehow think only Briatore deserves to never have a chance in F1 again. He’s very good at finding talented people and letting them get on with their work. Despite the baggage, he should bring some common sense and good management to Alpine.

      BTW, it amuses that people seem to be totally unaware that Briatore had already been officially appointed working with F1 itself before this appointment.

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