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Alpine F1 Team

Why Doohan is reluctant to take F1 reserve driver role

After missing out on a Formula 1 seat in 2023, Alpine Academy driver Jack Doohan has shed light on what his future options in the sport might be.

Jack Doohan Abu Dhabi Test
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To news overview © XPBimages

Jack Doohan admits that he is reluctant to take a reserve driver role in Formula 1 just yet after missing out on a possible race seat for 2023.

The Alpine Academy driver has previously spoken of his attempts to be considered for the spot in the team that became available when Fernando Alonso announced his departure for Aston Martin.

This position later went to Pierre Gasly, while Doohan looks set to remain in Formula 2 after finishing the 2022 championship in sixth place.

The Australian is keen to focus on racing going forwards, rather than taking on a reserve role in F1.

"There's possibilities of what I could be enrolled into the Formula 1 team but, honestly, being a reserve driver or not doesn't help me or doesn't do anything really for me," Doohan told media, including RacingNews365.com, after taking part in the Abu Dhabi post-season test for Alpine.

"The main priority is to focus fully on Formula 2, because I could come around to all the Formula 1 races and and sit there and be there but, number one, the likelihood of obviously hopping in the car is, as we know, very, very low, and I don't think Alpine as a group with Renault have had it since I think 2015 or '14 as well.

"So it would just be taking slightly a bit of time off my Formula 2 commitments, where I can fully focus on that and take full advantage of my time there, as well as extracting everything I can from the team to then hopefully be in a full-time driving role for 2024, or whether that be 2025 or beyond."

Doohan: I've not finished my junior career

Doohan hopes that, by continuing on in Formula 2, he can boost his chances of a full-time seat in F1 in the future more than he could with a reserve role.

"For sure, it would be cool [to be a reserve driver], but I'm still 19," the teenager said.

"It's not like I've sort of finished my junior single-seater career. I need to find myself a position. I've been embedded with the team for the past three or four rounds, so I've experienced a like role, you could say, to a reserve driver.

"I want to be a full-time driver. As much as it's cool being at the races, it sucks not driving, and so I want to do everything possible next year to make sure I am a full-time driver."

Doohan's hopes for F1 future

With both Gasly and Esteban Ocon being on multi-year contracts, the chances of a seat becoming available at Alpine in 2024 perhaps seem slim.

Doohan is remaining optimistic about gaining a future opportunity in the sport, though.

"I have confidence and a lot of trust in Alpine that, firstly, I have to win the [Formula 2] championship, which – if everything stays intact and goes all to plan – I'm confident that we can do," he explained.

"If I do have to sit out and wait a year, I'd be fine with that because I'd be more than happy to wait for an Alpine seat and to continue to grow with them.

"If there's possibilities elsewhere to be loaned out then amazing, but that is in the future and that is to be decided.

"That will hopefully take care of itself if you win and make the results happen."

Discussions for future options

While an F1 debut may be some time off for Doohan, conversations have taken place about his possible options.

"There [were] discussions, as naturally you're discussing the future," the F2 driver continued.

"At one point I was hoping to be in Formula 1 for 2023 so, naturally, you're discussing your Plan A's, your Plan B's and you Plan C's.

"There's been discussions like always, discussing the future, discussing possibilities.

"As with any junior academy, they have objectives for you, and objectives have rewards in a way, so I know that there's a clear objective that has been stated to win Formula 2 next year, and then we'll need to obviously see where that goes from there."

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