Alpine set to run three drivers in private test this week
Alpine will run three drivers in a private test using a 2021-spec car at the Hungaroring this week.
It is believed former Formula E champion Nyck de Vries, ex-Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi and Alpine Academy driver Jack Doohan will get time behind the wheel.
The test at the Hungarian Grand Prix venue – which starts today – has long been planned, as part of the Enstone team’s programme to give their Academy drivers experience in F1 machinery.
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However, it is now providing an opportunity to run additional drivers, some of whom – but not all – are in the running to partner Esteban Ocon at Alpine in the 2023 campaign.
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi told Formula1.com that the team has plenty of good driver options and they are planning to have more clarity on their plans by the end of this month.
De Vries impressed the F1 paddock when he stepped in at late notice to replace Williams' Alex Albon at the Italian Grand Prix, the Dutchman starting inside the top 10 and finishing ninth to score two points.
Sources say he's in the frame for a seat at Alpine, with Williams also believed to be very keen to recruit him as a replacement for Nicholas Latifi next year.
Antonio Giovinazzi is dreaming of a return to F1, having spent an unsuccessful season in Formula E.
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The Italian, who is having two run-outs in FP1 for Haas this year, would be a candidate should Alpine decide to recruit an experienced driver.
The 28-year-old, who is still backed by Ferrari, is also of interest to Haas regarding a potential race seat next year.
The third driver getting track time will be Doohan, son of five-time motorcycle world champion Mick, as part of his Alpine Academy programme.
The 19 year old is currently fourth in F2, with Alpine keen to continue to support his progress. While promoting him to F1 next season may be a year too early, he remains a consideration.
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IndyCar driver Colton Herta was set to drive in the test a bid to help build up mileage to qualify for an F1 Super Licence, with Red Bull interested in bringing the American in at AlphaTauri. However, the arrangement fell through.
Pierre Gasly remains in contention for a seat at Alpine, but he is no longer the favourite to get the nod. His availability hinges on Red Bull securing a suitable replacement for the AlphaTauri driver next year.