Which driver for Alpine in 2023?

Which driver for Alpine in 2023?

The long-awaited decision of the CRB in the McLaren/Alpine imbroglio has fallen. After analyzing the contracts of the two parties linking them to Oscar Piastri, the FIA ​​Contract Recognition Board decided in favor of the English team. The body responsible for certifying the validity of the contracts signed between pilots and teams estimated that the Australian was free to sign a lease with the Woking firm to become one of its pilots from next season.

Thereby, Alpine finds itself without Oscar Piastri, yet announced on August 2, and without Fernando Alonso already assured of happy days, or not, at Aston Martin where he will take over from Sebastian Vettel, future retiree. While almost all the teams have completed their line-up for the following campaign, the Blues can only count on Esteban Ocon for the moment. Within the A fléché, various avenues are currently being studied, but which one could it materialize for real?

Schumacher, Ocon’s favorite

Mick Schumacher will he bounce back to Alpine? ©DPPI/A. vincent

At the end of the contract with Ferrari who does not wish to extend it, Mick Schumacher seems promised a future far from the Scuderia and especially from Haas, one of whose seats was systematically reserved for an Italian driver, in this case his own. The German is therefore active in order to extend his adventure by F1and without the support of Ferrari the tracks fit on the fingers of one hand, and even then.

If he is not the team’s priority today, Alpine has put the name of Mick Schumacher in his small papers for the 2023 season. Disappointing in 2021 even if he did not have competitive equipment, the Red Baron’s son has gained confidence. Taking advantage of a more efficient car, the German scored his first points, was involved in some great battles and was able to get the upper hand over his teammate, the experienced Kevin Magnussen, a few times. Esteban Ocon even makes his counterpart his favorite to support him next year. It remains to be seen whether Laurent Rossi and his band will try the Schumacher bet, more risky on the sporting level but attractive on the economic level of the brand.

Gasly, the one holding the rope?

Pierre Gasly at Alpine for a 100% French duo? ©DPPI/F. Gooden

What if Alpine aligned a 100% French duo in 2023 with the arrival of Pierre Gasly? This is the rumor that has been driving the paddock since the resumption in Belgium last weekend. The idea is good and the Blues would make the Normand their priority for next season. However, the case should be more difficult to lead than that of Mick Schumacher.

Currently AlphaTauri driver, Pierre Gasly has already been confirmed for 2023, the year marking the end of his contract with Red Bull, of which he has been a member since the 2024 season, while Mick Schumacher will be free next December. Asked at a press conference on Thursday, the Norman refuted the idea of ​​​​changing sides while he is under contract with the Faenza team. “I don’t want to comment on anything,” he warned in the Dutch paddock. I’m with AlphaTauri and I give my best for them. They gave me my first seat and my first victory in F1, I have a contract with them and everyone knows it. Nothing has changed. In June I was announced at McLaren, in July at AlphaTauri and now at Alpine. Many things have been said but one thing is certain: I have a contract with AlphaTauri. » Case to follow…

Ricciardo still in the running?

Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo reunited again in 2023? ©DPPI/F. Gooden

Will Daniel Ricciardo go the opposite way to Oscar Piastri? Last August, we announced that the Australian was in pole position to succeed to Fernando Alonso. The track has since gone down the drain and the Perth native appears to have walked away from a return to Enstone two years after leaving.

A departure precisely which had not been very well experienced internally. While he embodied the new Renault project which had finally attracted a big name, Daniel Ricciardo had slammed the door even before the start of his 2e season with the Diamond in 2020 announcing that he would join McLaren in 2021. Within the various departments of the tricolor team, this departure had been taken as a betrayal as the hopes placed in the Australian were high.

It will also be necessary to analyze the state of mind of Daniel Ricciardo who remains on two unconvincing seasons at McLaren despite his victory at Monza in September 2021. Does he still have the same aggressiveness as 5 years ago when he was a driver capable of fighting for the top positions? Does he still have the motivation and the desire to continue in F1 after a difficult passage between Enstone and Woking? So many questions that the leaders of the Blues will have to ask themselves before making an offer to the person concerned but above all to avoid another major failure.

Doohan to promote the academy?

Jack Doohan represents the Alpine Academy in F2. © Sebastiaan Rozendaal / Dutch Photo Agency / DPPI

Will Alpine end up drawing internally? After the failure of Oscar Piastri, a member of the academy since his Formula Renault title in 2019, the solution could finally come from F2 with Jack Doohan, also an integral part of the A arrow nursery.

For the moment, the Australian is starting from very far. Admittedly, he is having a great first year with already 3 victories on the clock and two pole positions, but in the leaders’ plans he is far from being the priority at the moment. But wouldn’t that be the best response to the departure of Oscar Piastri, whose blue academy accompanied him with the F3, and his titles, up to his role as a reserve in F1 this year? (Very) Probably but the management of Alpine cannot afford to take such a risk with a driver who has never been titled in promotion formulas and whose development is not yet finished to consider him as a real contender at a steering wheel in F1.

To note that Theo Pourchaire (currently in 2e year of F2 with ART Grand Prix) is also on the list of drivers considered in the same way as Mick Schumacher and Pierre Gasly even if he is not at the same level as them in the eyes of Alpine. Moreover, his performances over the whole of the year do not plead in his favor, the Habs having never been able, or very rarely, to compete with the probable champion Felipe Drugovich.

READ ALSO > Piastri at McLaren, a Pyrrhic victory?

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