Alpine hopeful of promoting juniors to F1 with non-affiliated teams

© XPB 

Alpine says it could place its academy members with other F1 outfits despite its current lack of collaboration with other teams.

The French manufacturer unveiled its 2021 roster of young hopefuls, three of which - Guanyu Zhou, Christian Lundgaard and Oscar Piastri - will race in the FIA Formula 2 Championship this season.

As returnees to the category, Zhou and Lundgaard are expected to fight for the title this year according to Alpine Academy boss Mia Sharizman.

However, Alpine's options to promote either driver to F1 in the wake of a success appear limited. Fernando Alonso is tied for two years to Alpine while Esteban Ocon's current contract runs until the end of this season.

Sharizman admits that having no current links with another F1 team through a power unit affiliation "doesn't make it any easier" for Alpine but believes a "collaboration" with an outside is still possible.

"It is something that we have identified, ways and means to ultimately get the drivers to our seat," Sharizman said.

"Without a power unit supply or without any connections, there can still be a collaboration between other teams. I won’t divulge too much into it.

"But having said that, we focus on what we have, we focus on the two race seats that we have, the academy that we have, and the tools that we have.

"Obviously, going into our team is the priority. But we believe that there is still room for collaboration with other teams, irrespective of the power unit supply."

Alpine's three F2 chargers were given mileage onboard a 2018-spec Renault F1 car last year, and all three obviously ambition to race in F1 in the future.

But the trio's varying degree of experience will require specific planning for each driver says Sharizman.

"The three of them are three different years, going into the championship: you have Zhou in his third year, Christian in his second year, and obviously Oscar is a rookie," he said.

"It’s slightly a different proposition, and a different way of planning.

"It will bring the situation similar to what Ferrari has gone through last year. But at the moment, we do feel that for example in the case of Oscar, it would take time, but without that expectation, we are aware of how he can progress.

"We have to have a Plan A and a Plan B already for now. That is something that is in the back of our mind. We think it will be OK for us, and we can manage it well, and how we can ensure that the three drivers that we have get up to where they want to be."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter</