Doohan explains why he chose Alpine over Red Bull

Michelle Foster
Jack Doohan with Red Bull sponsorship. Australia April 2020

New Alpine junior driver Jack Doohan with Red Bull sponsorship. Australia April 2020

Jack Doohan says he does “not want to touch too much” on why he opted for Alpine’s junior academy rather than spending another season with Red Bull’s.

Doohan joined the Red Bull driver academy back in 2017 and was reportedly given the option to extend for a further year, 2022.

He, however, decided to move to Alpine, the team announcing him earlier this week along with Olli Caldwell.

That same day the 19-year-old, the son of of five-time 500CC motorcycle world champion Mick, was confirmed by Virtuosi Racing for this year’s Formula 2 championship.

Doohan says he’s not going to go into detail about why he went with Alpine over Red Bull.

“Just the layout of the program and what it’s going to do for me to become a better driver (made the difference),” said the Aussie as per Racer. “Obviously Red Bull had that, but if it was the same I wouldn’t have moved.

“I don’t want to touch on that too much, but there was just a really good path for me to actually become a better driver regardless of the end goal, to learn as much as possible and get valuable time that you can’t get anywhere else and that I hadn’t been getting.

“It’s coming to a point where it’s make-or-break in Formula 2 and there’s nothing really to go back on, so I had to make the decision what I wanted to do to become a better driver, and Alpine was that.

“In my limited time with the program, already I’m enjoying that a lot and I honestly can’t wait to continue to build and build the relationships, because I’m obviously still a very fresh face and everyone else is a fresh face for me too; but at the moment everyone’s amazing and I’m enjoying being here a lot.”

Doohan finished second in last year’s Formula 3 championship, losing the title to fellow Red Bull junior Dennis Hauger.

Like his rivals the Australian driver is dreaming of one day competing in Formula 1, even if it means taking the long road like his compatriot Oscar Piastri is having to do.

The former Alpine junior won last year’s Formula 2 title but with no open seats at Alpine has instead taken up a reserve driver role with the F1 team, Alpine already promising him a “good number of days” testing in a F1 car.

Another of the academy drivers, Guanyu Zhou, also bid farewell to the junior programme at the end of last season, signing as an Alfa Romeo F1 driver.

Doohan believes with Alpine he’ll have the opportunity to better himself as a driver, and maybe get a shot at Formula 1.

“F1 is obviously the ultimate goal but I think the Alpine program for me – spending obviously the last few years with Red Bull, which was good, but in the short time that I’ve worked with Alpine I think they’re a program that regardless of the end goal of Formula 1 aim to make you into a better driver by teaching you more,” he added.

“From F1 tests to working with the team to being able to speak to the engineers, you’ve got all this information you can take that’s available with you to go forward and ultimately help you become a better driver and F1-ready.

“At the end of the season, if you’ve done a good job, Oscar will get his opportunity but if you’ve won a championship or come close to then it’s not just Alpine but other F1 teams are going to be looking at you as well.

“They’re giving us the opportunity to then progress forward and be able to become a professional at what we do. I think that’s the main part of it, becoming a better driver going forward, whether in F1 or like Christian in IndyCar and Zhou as well went to Alfa Romeo.


“I think there’s a lot of people that say, ‘Yeah but they haven’t had someone promote into the Formula 1 team.’ but everyone that’s been in Formula 2 or their program, you can’t diss them that they aren’t a good driver or they haven’t grown while they’ve been here.”