As a part of the rebranding of Renault’s F1 challenge as Alpine for 2021, the French marque launched its 2021 academy on Wednesday, with three of its 5 members set to race in F2 this yr.
Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard will return to F2 with UNI Virtuosi and ART Grand Prix respectively, whereas Oscar Piastri graduates to the class with Prema following his F3 title win final yr.
Alpine Academy director Mia Sharizman outlined that each Zhou and Lundgaard are anticipated to combat for the F2 title this yr after struggling to characteristic within the championship battle final season.
However Alpine seems restricted on choices to put its junior drivers in F1 shifting ahead. On the senior squad, Fernando Alonso has signed for 2021 on a two-year deal, whereas teammate Esteban Ocon is out of contract on the finish of the season.
Ferrari has been in a position to place its younger drivers with each Alfa Romeo and Haas for 2021, whereas Mercedes has George Russell at Williams. McLaren was the one Renault buyer workforce in F1 final yr, however has since switched to Mercedes energy items, leaving Alpine with none affiliation to different groups.
Sharizman accepted that it “doesn’t make it any simpler” for Alpine, however was assured there could be methods to work with different groups ought to it want to put its juniors with out an current affiliation.
“It’s one thing that we’ve recognized, methods and means to finally get the drivers to our seat,” Sharizman mentioned.
“And not using a energy unit provide or with none connections, there can nonetheless be a collaboration between different groups. I gained’t expose an excessive amount of into it.
“However having mentioned that, we deal with what we’ve, we deal with the 2 race seats that we’ve, the academy that we’ve, and the instruments that we’ve.
“Clearly, going into our workforce is the precedence. However we imagine that there’s nonetheless room for collaboration with different groups, no matter the ability unit provide.”
Alpine ran all three drivers in personal F1 assessments final yr, sampling the 2018-spec Renault automobile, however it’s unclear what appearances shall be afforded to them this yr.
Regardless of having a trio of children all trying to make the ultimate step to F1, Sharizman felt every driver was at a special stage of their careers.
“The three of them are three totally different years, going into the championship: you could have Zhou in his third yr, Christian in his second yr, and clearly Oscar is a rookie,” mentioned Sharizman when requested by Motorsport.com how he deliberate to handle all three drivers.
“It’s barely a special proposition, and a special manner of planning.
“It is going to deliver the scenario just like what Ferrari has gone by way of final yr. However in the intervening time, we do really feel that for instance within the case of Oscar, it could take time, however with out that expectation, we’re conscious of how he can progress.
“We’ve to have a Plan A and a Plan B already for now. That’s one thing that’s at the back of our thoughts. We expect will probably be OK for us, and we are able to handle it effectively, and the way we are able to be certain that the three drivers that we’ve rise up to the place they need to be.”