Former Alpine junior Caio Collet has explained how he remains connected to the French marque this year despite being dropped from its academy.
Collet joined the Alpine Academy after winning the 2018 French Formula 4 title, and in his four years as part of the programme he was Formula Renault Eurocup runner-up and won races in Formula 3 where he will continue to race this year.
“To be really honest after my season last year I didn’t really know what to do. If I was moving to, for example, endurance racing or keeping myself on single-seaters or Formula 2,” he revealed to media ahead of the opening F3 round at Bahrain.
“Obviously the goal was to go to F2, but I couldn’t really find a seat or budget. And then I was basically going to stay home, until Van Amersfoort Racing came with a very good [F3] deal and we just accepted it. And here I am.”
According to Alpine, which competes in the World Endurance Championship as well as in Formula 1, Collet “retains a connection to the Alpine Racing family without official Academy affiliation”.
“I’m not in the Academy programme anymore, but I’m still linked to Alpine,” said the Brazilian. “And the problem [in this plan] was to move to LMP2 and hopefully LMDh the year after, but then we couldn’t really finalise the deal and it was at the same time that VAR came with the really good proposal. So we decided to stick to the single-seaters and do maybe one or two more seasons and see what happens. So basically [that] was the decision we took.”
Collet was dropped from the Alpine Academy after finishing eighth in F3 last year, below the goal that Alpine had set for him, and had he been fighting for the title then potentially he would have receieved support from the marque to step up to F2.
“Last year I didn’t [meet that goal], so it was as simple as that,” said Collet. “But I’m still linked to the Academy.
“For example I still have them on my suit, I can still access all the facilities [such as the Alpine’s popular Human High-Performance Centre] and all this kind of stuff. I’m not part of the programme anymore, but I’m still linked. So, for example, if I do well this season I can go back, or I have opportunities in other classes like WEC or stuff like that, which is really nice.
“We are still in contact, and we are waiting to see what will happen this year and decide my future.”