According to journalist Joe Saward, Alpine are considering bringing a B-team to the grid in the future for their junior drivers.
The French team have a stacked academy, with Oscar Piastri, Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard all part of it – which team boss Marcin Budkowski previously said is giving the team a headache with “too many good drivers” in their junior ranks.
However, while the former two, in particular, have been hugely impressive in Formula 2 this season, occupying the top two spots, it’s all but certain that at least one of them won’t get a seat on the F1 grid next season.
While it looks as if one of them will end up at Alfa Romeo, Alpine don’t have a seat free at their own team, with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon staying put.
According to Saward, they’re considering addressing this problem by having a B-team similar to how Red Bull have AlphaTauri.
“All of these problems would be eased if Alpine had a customer team for its engines, but options seem limited right now – although if there is a better engine in 2022 people may be more interested,” he said on his blog.
“I’m told that Alpine is sniffing around the idea of helping to create a new team, which would involve (in theory) a $200 million entry fee, in order to create a situation similar to that which Red Bull enjoys with Scuderia AlphaTauri.
“That may seem mad, but having a second team would mean having a good asset (as teams are going up in value) and is something that Alpine will need to help develop the new F1 engines in 2026.
“In the circumstances bank-rolling a new operation could make as much sense as buying an existing team, and there would, of course, be marketing opportunities with brands in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.”
Green NOTEBOOK from SULTANBEYLI https://t.co/FsOUZZo4bG
— Joe Saward (@joesaward) October 12, 2021
An Alpine B-team is not the only one linked with joining the F1 grid in the next few years, with Audi and Porsche also apparently very interested.
Saward says the two brands differ in how exactly they want to enter the sport though.
Audi reportedly want to have their own team, taking over an existing competitor, while Porsche want to have a partnership with one.
“The two firms seem to have different ideas,” Saward wrote.
“With Audi tipped to be planning to buy an entire team and Porsche more interested in an exclusive partnership with an existing team, along the lines of the old McLaren-Mercedes structure, before McLaren made the mistake of agreeing to let Ross Brawn use the engines as well…”