Alpine youth face uncertain future without partner teams

Guanyu Zhou

With McLaren and freshly rebranded Alpine parting ways, the latter’s young driver pool face an uncertain future on their journey to Formula 1.

Alpine racing director Davide Brivio has acknowledged that the team will find it difficult to provide young drivers with opportunities in F1 without a partner team in the championship.

“It is quite obvious, the fact we don’t have a partner team makes things maybe a little bit more difficult,” Brivio said.

“The young drivers [have to] be included in the Alpine main team so it has to be a good combination of everything – the situation you have, the target you have if you have time to wait or not.

“But of course, we will work with the academy, we will work with that and we will keep it in mind.”

The Alpine Academy is one of the most populated amongst the paddock. Three drivers will represent the team in F2 this season: Christian Lundgaard, Guanyu Zhou and reigning FIA F3 champion Oscar Piastri. Fellow academy members Caio Collet and Victor Martins are set to compete in F3 in 2021.

With five drivers fighting over the chance to fill two seats as soon as 2022, dependent on the results of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.

Brivio, who joins Alpine from Suzuki’s MotoGP program, warns against using youth for the sake of it, despite 23-year-old Joan Mir claiming the 2020 MotoGP championship under his wing:

“It has to be, always, a good mix between experience and talent and also it depends on the situation,” he explained.

“I think what we did in MotoGP was also in a special historical moment when we realised a few years ago that there was going to be a change of generation between the riders.

“The top drivers were getting older and probably getting retired so it needed to create the new generation of riders at that stage.

“Here in Formula 1, there is, of course, a new generation coming up and you can see, you can appreciate how these young drivers are performing since the beginning but also Fernando is not that young but he is experienced and his talent is still very important.

“It is always exciting to work with younger drivers because you can see them growing up, expressing their talent, trying to use their potential but also you need to create the right conditions and the right time – it doesn’t have to be young just because it is nice to have young.”