SportF1How the Alpine situation evidences a crisis in F1

How the Alpine situation evidences a crisis in F1

In the different Formula 4 championships, one of the fixed appointments at the end of each season is the evaluation test for the best young drivers to start their career in single-seaters. Many call it the Casting , that is to say, one or several days in which these very young drivers are evaluated to find out who the great talents of the future may be.

The private test that Alpine has organized for next week at the Hungaroring (the date has not yet been leaked) looks a lot like a Formula 4 casting call, with a group of drivers called to be evaluated and compared with each other with a view to occupy the seat that Fernando Alonso will leave free at the end of 2022.

However, there is a big difference here, because we are talking about a very different context, it is Formula 1 and the caliber of the candidates is obviously different. We are talking about a group of renowned drivers, who have been in the racing world for years, whose characteristics should have been known for a long time for an F1 team.

Antonio Giovinazz con Otmar Szafnauer, Alpinee Luca De Meo a Monza: l'italiano parteciperà al test Alpine?
Nico Hulkenberg, Aston Martin

This is surprising, in many ways, and difficult to interpret in several respects. The first is the different types of candidates. Experienced drivers like Nico Hulkenberg and Antonio Giovinazzi will take to the track, along with drivers like Nyck De Vries and others who have not even made their debut like Colton Herta and probably (his presence is not certain) Jack Doohan.

This mixture suggests that the French team does not have a clear idea of the type of driver it wants as Esteban Ocon’s partner and, probably, each of the candidates is linked to different opinions that will have emerged during the discussions of the team’s management. .

We are talking about Alpine , an official team, with a manufacturer behind it, which should have taken the lead in the paddock and, above all, in the market. Speaking recently about the hiring of Oscar Piastri, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl summed up one of his tasks well: “We have to know all the scenarios, be aware of what is happening in the market and have a clear vision of the contractual situation of all the riders in the paddock”.

“You have to be aware of everything, including the young drivers who are active in Formula 2 and in other categories. It is a normal process, it is our responsibility, and it is what ultimately led us to sign Oscar Piastri “, he concluded.

Mick Schumacher, Haas F1
Nyck de Vries, Williams

Nyck de Vries, Williams

Photo by: Williams

A test like the one organized by Alpine may make sense to evaluate a driver with an atypical sporting background like Herta, who only raced in Europe in 2016, but for the rest, the team should already have a clear idea.

However, to this day, several teams (not just Alpine) do not have a single person to observe and evaluate the drivers among their hundreds of employees, whether in Formula 1 or elsewhere.

The result is evident: the names are known but not its characteristics, its history, the type of growth trajectory, the experiences it has had over the years, etc. It may seem paradoxical, but this is the case for most Formula 1 teams, with a few exceptions.

And the biggest paradox we will see when Alpine announces the name of the driver who will accompany Ocon in 2023. Because right now, at the head of the list of Laurent Rossi and Otmar Szafnauer , is the name of Pierre Gasly, who obviously will not be on the list. private test from Hungary, and who would probably have responded with a “no thanks” had he received such an invitation.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri

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