Alpine’s reserve Jack Doohan feels “very ready” for a Formula 1 call-up, although a full-time seat with the team is not possible until 2025.
Doohan is fourth in Formula 2’s standings, enduring a tricky season so far. He remains in title contention, and Alpine has made sure that F2 is his focus although it has given him private F1 tests and F1 work at grands prix.
“I’m doing quite a lot of testing, and I do have quite a lot of mileage in a F1 car now, and I feel very experienced so very ready for when that time should come,” Doohan said. “So I’m looking forward to the future.”
After one podium in the first 14 races, Alpine pushed Doohan’s focus to F2. But early in 2023, his F1 commitments were growing.
“My involvement within the F1 team at Alpine became a lot more in the latter half of last year [after Oscar Piastri was excluded from being reserve driver] and especially over the winter and then for this year,” Doohan said at F2’s season opener.
“To have that opportunity to work with every single member of the team and all the engineers, mechanics and people at the factory has been awesome and you have to take all that in and really learn as much as possible.”
Doohan says Alpine was “clear” that they wanted him “to win the championship”, and wanted “to take the top driver from junior single-seaters through to be a part of their F1 team as one of their full-time drivers”.
“If I was in their position I would want the same, I wouldn’t want the third or fourth or fifth-placed driver. Obviously there is an exception, whether there are things outside of my control.”
Issues outside of Doohan’s control have hampered him in F2, however recent wins means he is Alpine’s lead junior again. And if he does meet Alpine’s targets, set by their previous management, he would be left waiting for an F1 seat as their current drivers are contracted for 2024.
Becoming F2 champion would be “putting myself in a position that is most marketable for me” in staking a claim for an F1 seat, with “obviously not much more a driver can do”.
“If that means I have to wait a year to continue my relationship with Alpine then so be it. I look forward to that. If they were to then loan me out as an Alpine driver to somewhere else where they could find me a seat. They understand how crucial it is to stay in a seat, they’re trying heavily to avoid a situation that happened in the past and last year.”
Doohan reckoned Alpine “would have my best interests at heart”, and a guarantee of a 2025 seat would make him open to sit out 2024 as he already feels embedded in the team.
“I owe a lot to them and to just bail because they don’t have a F1 seat for me for one year would not be really respectful and would not be what I think is correct.”