Jack Doohan promoted to Alpine reserve driver role for F1 2023 season

Jamie Woodhouse
Jack Doohan putting in ear plugs ahead of his FP1 run. Mexico October 2022

Jack Doohan in the Alpine garage putting in ear plugs ahead of his FP1 run. Mexico October 2022

With Oscar Piastri now a McLaren driver, the Alpine reserve role is vacant no more as Jack Doohan has got the gig.

Following Piastri’s capture of the 2021 Formula 2 Championship, the then-Alpine junior would become the team’s F1 reserve driver for 2022 with no seat on the grid available.

He never did make a free practice appearance for Alpine though, the Aussie part of one of Formula 1’s strangest contract disputes yet over the summer of 2022 when he snubbed Alpine’s promotion to a 2023 race seat and signed with McLaren.

The baton now then has been passed to another of Alpine’s junior racers, that being the 20-year-old Aussie Jack Doohan who is preparing to contest his second season in the Formula 2 Championship as he remains with Virtuosi Racing for 2023.

Last season, in his rookie F2 campaign, he won three races and claimed six podiums overall on his way to P6 in the final standings.

Doohan has already made two FP1 appearances for Alpine, appearing at the 2022 Mexican and Abu Dhabi GPs.

Reacting to his promotion to the Alpine F1 reserve role on social media, Doohan wrote: “Very pleased to announce I’ll be the reserve driver for 2023 for Alpine F1 Team.

“Very grateful for this opportunity to work closely with the team, to provide my support for the year and learn as much as possible for the future. Can’t wait to get started!”

Doohan was not the luckiest driver on the 2022 F2 grid by any stretch of the imagination, but Alpine are expecting him to step up to the title picture in 2023, and then go on to win it.

“He’ll be in F2 again, so he’ll be part of the Alpine family going forward, but his focus for next year will be to win the F2 championship,” said Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer.

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Alpine via Jack Doohan must learn from past mistakes

A young Australian driver, rated very highly in the F2 and F1 paddocks, who is looking for that Formula 1 breakthrough with Alpine backing. Where have we seen this before?

And considering all these similarities between Doohan and Piastri, it makes Doohan the perfect driver to allow Alpine to cleanse themselves of these demons of their past.

Having questioned the future of the Alpine Academy after the Piastri saga, the team has instead unveiled its most stacked junior line-up yet for 2023 competition, and Doohan, alongside reigning Formula 3 champion Victor Martins, find themselves at the forefront of Alpine’s prospects.

Of course, neither Alpine nor Piastri believed they were in the wrong, and perhaps neither were despite the Formula 1 Contract Recognition Board ruling in McLaren’s/Piastri’s favour, but Alpine nonetheless can take lessons from that breakdown when it comes to tying down their young talent and sticking to clear negotiations and pathways for them.

Of course, Martins could yet do a Piastri and claim back-to-back titles, but named F1 reserve, Alpine has put the slightly more experienced Doohan at the head of their young hopefuls, and if Doohan is up to the task of making it to Formula 1, then Alpine need to prove to everyone and themselves that they can indeed make that happen with them.