Silly season swirling as Alpine arranges ’shootout’

"Mercedes had to give Mick and Alpine permission"


25 June 2024 - 11:08
Silly season swirling as Alpine (…)

Even in the few days between Barcelona and Austria, and in the midst of an intense F1 triple-header, the 2025 driver ’silly season’ continues to rumble.

The big news is that two main contenders to replace Esteban Ocon at Alpine next year, Mick Schumacher and Jack Doohan, will test a 2022 car at Paul Ricard next week in what the media is billing as a ’shootout’.

Auto Motor und Sport reports: "Mercedes had to give Mick and Alpine permission, but this was apparently just a formality.

"As the Brackley based team confirmed to us, they would be happy to allow Schumacher to do a test run with a rival team if it gives its reserve driver the chance to return to a regular cockpit."

Mick’s uncle Ralf hopes the Schumacher family’s links with new Alpine team advisor Flavio Briatore gives the hopeful 25-year-old German’s chances a boost.

"Flavio wants to see performance first," he told Sport1. "That is crucial. But it is certainly not a disadvantage that there are still good contacts with the family.

"A real test is important, not all this simulator driving," Ralf added.

Briatore said in Barcelona last weekend that Pierre Gasly is doing a "good job" to retain the other seat, but the Frenchman has also been linked with Audi.

"In the short-term, we have Pierre Gasly," Briatore told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We are also following numerous young drivers.

"I won’t say who they are, but they are all very good."

Briatore was also spotted in conversation with Carlos Sainz’s father, Carlos Sainz snr, in Barcelona. Ferrari refugee Sainz, 29, is also linked with Williams.

After their clash in the Spanish GP, Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc said, according to Blick newspaper: "We all know the difficult situation Carlos is in. I’m not angry with him even if it was a bit unnecessary."

Sainz’s decision could be announced either this week or in Austria this weekend. "Could be," the Spaniard confirmed. "I’m not certain, but it could be."

As for the departing Alpine driver Ocon, his best chance for 2025 appears to be Haas - even though he would much rather fill Lewis Hamilton’s seat at Mercedes, the team run by his manager Toto Wolff.

"At the moment, I don’t think that will happen," Wolff said. "We want to delay the decision as long as possible to remain flexible.

"I don’t think we’ll make a decision until November."

Meanwhile, if Red Bull cannot offer Liam Lawson his full F1 debut with RB for 2025, he would be free to pursue the reported interest of Audi-Sauber.

That depends on whether Daniel Ricciardo is offered a new contract.

"Obviously I would like to stay," said the Australian, "but I obviously want to earn it. So it’s up to me to make sure that I can keep pulling it out."

Alpine F1 Team - Renault


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