Jack Doohan to replace Esteban Ocon for Alpine in FP1 at Mexican Grand Prix

Sam Cooper

Jack Doohan will get his first taste of a Formula 1 race weekend session when he takes part in FP1 for Alpine at the Mexican Grand Prix.

The 19-year-old Australian will take Esteban Ocon’s place for the opening session of the weekend’s running as part of a new FIA instruction for the 2022 season that two sessions must be driven by rookies.

Doohan is a member of the the Alpine Academy having left the Red Bull junior team in 2021 and has been given several opportunities to test an F1 car so far.

He drove the Alpine A521 at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar in May and then again at Monza shortly before the British Grand Prix. His most recent test came in September as he, Antonio Giovinazzi and Nyck de Vries put in some laps at the Hungaroring.

But unlike Giovinazzi and De Vries, Friday’s session will be the first time he takes part in an official Formula 1 session. Speaking ahead of his run-0ut, Doohan said he had been putting in time in the simulator to prepare him for a new track.

“I’ve had a few runs this year in the A521 but to be actually driving this year’s current Formula 1 car, but also on the same track at the same time as the current Formula 1 drivers on a Formula 1 weekend, will be unbelievable and something I’ve dreamt of since I’ve been a little kid,” said Doohan.

“We had some good time on the sim, I was able to work with the engineers to kind of get my head around it. It’s quite an extraordinary circuit so it will be an experience, not only for a new track but to experience conditions like this, but nevertheless I’m super-excited.

“I’ve been overlooking, you could say, the Formula 1 weekend from afar over my Formula 2 season, being able to come up to the paddock at certain points.

“Actually being able to be full time in the Formula 1 paddock and be with the engineers every moment of the weekend will enable me to really understand the step-by-step movements required to probably be ready for these sessions and for the participation in the session.”

Team boss Otmar Szafnauer said it was important for Alpine to give young drivers a chance and that they have been impressed with Doohan’s progression.

“We are very pleased to announce Jack will join the team in Mexico and take over driving duties for Free Practice 1,” the team boss said.

“We have all been impressed with Jack’s progression across many areas this season and he’s deserving of this chance as we continue to nurture his high potential.

“It’s important to give our young drivers opportunities to test Formula 1 cars and our Academy programme has proven to be successful in doing just that. We expect Jack to work hard during the session and take as much as he can from the experience of being involved in a Formula 1 grand prix weekend.”

Doohan will perform the same duties for the team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.