Home Featured Mika Hakkinen’s protege Kush Maini becomes Alpine F1 junior

Mika Hakkinen’s protege Kush Maini becomes Alpine F1 junior

by Ida Wood

Photo: Alpine F1 Team

The Alpine Formula 1 team has announced Formula 2 racer Kush Maini as the latest member of its academy.

It is the second big announcement relating to Maini’s career this month, as 11 days ago he revealed that two-time F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen is now mentoring him.

Maini has spent eight years in junior single-seater racing and he is currently in his rookie season in F2. The 23-year-old started the campaign with eight points finishes in the first 10 races, including a sprint race podium in Melbourne, but in the 14 races since has only scored three times and has slipped from fourth to 11th in the standings.

“I am super excited to be joining the Alpine Academy. It’s a dream come true to be associated with a team like Alpine, where I can learn and grow to hopefully one day be ready to take the step into F1,” said Maini. “A massive thank you to Alpine for believing in me and giving me this opportunity.”

Julian Rouse, who is Alpine’s interim sporting director in F1, added: “We are happy to welcome Kush into the Alpine Academy. He is a young talent who we believe has strong potential and will be a great asset to our driver development programme.

“The Alpine Academy will enter its ninth year in 2024 and currently features nine drivers of eight nationalities, spanning four different series from FIA F2 through to European karting. The continual expansion of the Academy’s talent pool runs in parallel to the expansion of our facilities at Enstone with the development of our new state-of-the-art training and testing facilities, the AHPC, underway.”

Alpine will have three juniors on the grid for the F2 finale next month, with Maini joining Jack Doohan and Victor Martins.