Schumacher, Gasly,… Which driver for Alpine in 2023?

Schumacher, Gasly,... Which driver for Alpine in 2023?

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

Thus, Alpine finds itself without Oscar Piastri, still 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, a future retiree. Although almost all the teams have completed their line-up for next season, the Blues can only count on Esteban Ocon at the moment. Within the A fléché, various pathways are currently being explored, but which one could truly materialize?

Schumacher, Ocon’s favorite

Will Mick Schumacher return to Alpine? ©DPPI/A. Vincent

At the end of the contract with Ferrari, which does not want to extend it, Mick Schumacher seems promised a future away from the Scuderia and especially from Haas, one of whose seats was systematically reserved for an Italian driver, in this case his. The German is therefore active to prolong his adventure in F1, and without the support of Ferrari the tracks are held by the fingers of one hand, and still.

If it is not the team’s priority today, Alpine has put Mick Schumacher’s name on their papers for the 2023 season. Disappointing in 2021 even though he did not have a competitive team, the Red Baron’s son has gained confidence. Taking advantage of a more efficient car, the German scored his first points, was involved in big battles and got the better of his team-mate, the experienced Kevin Magnussen, on a few occasions. Esteban Ocon even makes his counterpart his favorite to support him next year. It will be necessary to see if Laurent Rossi and his band will try Schumacher’s bet, riskier at a sporting level but economically attractive for the brand.

Gasly, the one holding the rope?

Pierre Gasly in Alpine for a 100% French duo? ©DPPI/F. Okay

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

The current AlphaTauri driver, Pierre Gasly, has already been confirmed for 2023, the year that marks the end of his contract with Red Bull, of which he has been part since the 2024 season, while Mick Schumacher will be released next December. Asked at a press conference this Thursday, the Norman denied the idea of ​​changing sides while under contract with the Faenza team. “I don’t want to comment on anything,” he warned in the Dutch paddock. I am with AlphaTauri and I do 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. “Subject to follow…

Ricciardo still in the race?

Will Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo meet again in 2023? ©DPPI/F. Okay

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

An exit precisely that had not been lived very well internally. While embodying the new Renault project that had finally attracted a big name, Daniel Ricciardo had closed the door even before the start of his 2me season with the Diamond in 2020 announcing that he would join McLaren in 2021. Within the different departments of the tricolor team, this departure had been taken as a betrayal since the hopes placed on the Australian were high.

It will also be necessary to analyze the state of mind of Daniel Ricciardo who continues with 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 first positions? Do you still have the motivation and desire to continue in F1 after a difficult time between Enstone and Woking? So many questions that the leaders of the Blues will have to ask themselves before making an offer to the interested party, but above all to avoid another major failure.

Doohan to promote the academy?

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

Will Alpine end up drawing internally? Following 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 now, the Australian starts from far away. It is true that he is having a great first year with already 3 wins on the clock and two pole positions, but in the plans of the leaders 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 from F3, and his titles, to his role as a reserve in F1 this year? (Very) Probably but Alpine management cannot afford to take such a risk with a driver who has never been a starter in promotion formulas and whose development is not yet complete to be considered as a true contender for an F1 steering wheel.

Note that Théo Pourchaire (currently at 2me 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 although he is not on the same level as them in the eyes of Alpine. Plus, his performances all year don’t work in his favor, as the Habs have rarely, if ever, been able to compete with likely champion Felipe Drugovich.

READ ALSO> Piastri at McLaren, a pyrrhic victory?

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