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Carlos Sainz (ESP) Renault Sport F1 Team.Renault Sport F1 Team. Enstone, England. Thursday 12th October 2017.

Alpine in talks with Sainz, test Schumacher and consider Doohan

Carlos Sainz (ESP) Renault Sport F1 Team.Renault Sport F1 Team. Enstone, England. Thursday 12th October 2017.

Like him or not Formula 1 Super Cheat Flavio Briatore has hardly returned to the paddock and already he is making waves which impact the 2025 Silly Season, with Ferrari-reject Carlos Sainz emerging as a top target for Alpine.

His past aside, Briatore’s role is to salvage the fast-sinking ship that is the Renault-owned Alpine team. He knows well the operation he started for them and won F1 titles with. Before his skulduggery got the better of him. But apparently, the F1 crime of Crashgate is forgotten, all water under the paddock bridge.

The 74-year-old Italian is focusing on his task at hand, namely reviving Alpine’s F1 fortunes as executive advisor to Renault’s big boss Luca de Meo. And Sainz could be part of their revival plan.

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Spanish media are hot onto the Sainz-Alpine connection with Marca reporting from Barcelona: “A script twist in the last few hours. In just three days since Flavio Briatore returned to the F1 paddock officially, as executive advisor to Alpine, he has Carlos Sainz on his driver wish list to replace Esteban Ocon.

“Williams and Audi are not alone in their desire to take the lead with Sainz, who has attracted strong last-minute interest from Briatore. On Friday, Luca de Meo seemed very excited about the prospect of signing the Spaniard.”

Adding further credence to the possibility, the report adds: “On Sunday in Barcelona, Flavio and de Meo were seen in the paddock chatting informally with Carlos Sainz Sr. in the team’s hospitality. This could end with #55 sharing a team with Pierre Gasly, who still does not have a contract extension.”

Sainz on the wishlist of Sauber aka Audi, Williams and now Alpine too

(L to R): Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team with Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Renault Sport F1 Team.Renault Sport Formula One Team RS18 Launch, Enstone, England. Tuesday 20th February 2018.

Sainz previously drove for Renault in F1 when he joined from Toro Rosso for the four final races of the 2017 season. And spent 2018 there too before switching to McLaren at the end of that season. Carlos knows Vichy and Enstone.

A “big announcement” was expected from Williams during the weekend in Spain. Many speculate it was to announce Carlos Sainz as Alex Albon’s teammate for 2025. But that was shut down. perhaps due to the new Alpine-factor.

While Sainz appears to be Plan-A, Alpine seem to working on their Plan-B or Plan-C options, They have F1 reserve Jack Doohan waiting in the wings and ready to step up to the F1 grid, and Haas discard Mick Schumacher has not written a return to the top flight. The German drives for the Alpine WEC Hypercar team.

Mick, son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher, will test a 2022-spec Alpine for the first time at Paul Ricard the French track ahead of the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone.

Alpine said in a statement: “As part of our TPC (testing of previous cars) programme, we will test Reserve Driver Jack Doohan, in line with his 2024 schedule, as well as Mick Schumacher as part of his Alpine Endurance project next week at Circuit Paul Ricard. We look forward to continuing to use our Race Support Team and the A522 Formula 1 car during our TPC programme.”

While the pair are part of the Alpine Academy, the arrival of 20-year-old Sainz on the list of candidates brings the kind of experience neither of the two youngsters have.

A decision is due soon as time is running out on a decision about the Spanish drivers’ future, this week according to Marca. Time will tell what Flavio decides to advise de Meo.

Big Question: Who for Alpine F1 Team: Carlos Sainz, Mich Schumacher or Jack Doohan?