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Alpine F1 Team

Alpine undecided on Doohan future

Alpine may be looking for a reserve driver for 2023, but Otmar Szafnauer is not yet confirming that Jack Doohan will be set for the role.

Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer says the team has not yet decided whether or not to appoint Jack Doohan as its reserve driver for next year.

With current reserve driver Oscar Piastri set to race for McLaren next year, Alpine need to replace him, and with Doohan a member of the team’s young driver academy, the Australian was thought to be a leading candidate.

However, Szafnauer refused to confirm Doohan's potential promotion.

"That decision hasn’t been made, so for us to confirm that... it hasn’t been made," Szafnauer told media including RacingNews365.com.

"Like my mother used to say: first the wedding, then the baptism."

Currently lying fourth in the F2 championship in his first year in the category, Doohan was thought to have been in the running for a race seat at Alpine next year to replace the outgoing Fernando Alonso. However, the Enstone squad plumped instead for the more experienced Pierre Gasly.

Despite passing him over for an unexpected promotion, Szafnauer talked up Doohan's abilities and potential.

"He's an impressive young man," said Szafnauer.

"His focus will be to win the Formula 2 championship next year.

"That's the focus, and then we'll see where we go, but we're grateful to have him as part of our Academy."

Ricciardo a no-go for Alpine

One name not in the reckoning to be Alpine's reserve driver in 2023 is Daniel Ricciardo.

The Australian is set for at least a year on F1's sidelines in 2023 after losing his drive at McLaren, and has been linked with a reserve driver role at several teams.

However, Szafnauer said that Alpine have not been in discussions with Ricciardo, who previously raced for the team in its Renault guise in 2019 and 2020.

"We haven’t made that decision [about a reserve driver] yet," said Szafnauer.

"But to be fair to Daniel, we haven't been talking to him about a reserve [role]."

With Piastri still officially contracted to Alpine, Szafnauer would not be drawn on whether the Enstone squad would be willing to release him from his contract early, in order to allow him to drive for McLaren during the post-season test at Abu Dhabi.

"I think our legal teams are discussing that now, and I don't know. There'll be more next week," said Szafnauer.

Also interesting:

Video: F1 pit-stops under two seconds are allowed (and THIS is why)

At the Mexico City Grand Prix, McLaren became the first team to complete a sub-two second pit-stop since the introduction of the new F1 pit-stop regulations, changing all four tyres on Daniel Ricciardo's car in 1.98 seconds.

So how did the team do this, and what changes have been made to F1's pit-stop procedure in the last couple of years?

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