Doohan won’t return to F2 in 2024, but F1 ‘still the goal’

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Australian hopeful Jack Doohan has confirmed that he won’t return to the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2024, but the 20-year-old is expected to remain Alpine’s F1 reserve next season.

Doohan, who finished sixth in the series in 2022 and who currently sits fourth ahead of Formula 2’s finale in Abu Dhabi next month, believes there would be nothing to gain by remaining in the junior championship for a third season.

However, the Aussie says that Formula 1 remains his top priority for the future, even if he ventures away from the elite next year.

“I won’t be competing in Formula 2 for next year,” said Doohan, who enjoyed his second FP1 outing with Alpine at the Mexican Grand Prix on Friday.

“It doesn’t seem realistic. With everything that’s gone on, I’ve made the most of it. We’ve done a great job with what’s been in my control, so doing so (another season) wouldn’t be much of a gain.”

Doohan admitted that his two campaigns in Formula 2 have been a mixed bag overall.

“My two years in Formula 2 haven’t necessarily gone exactly to plan – I’m sure everyone can tell you it never really does,” he said.

“But through that and through the bad moments, (there have been) the highs and what’s been in my control. I think I’ve done well and been able to show my capabilities.

“Doing another year of F2, if you win it, you’re expected, and if you don’t, you may as well…there’s all to lose and not much to gain, so I think we’re doing the right thing.”

Doohan reckoned that a double programme with Alpine whereby he would dovetail his F1 reserve duties with a campaign in the World Endurance Championship with the French manufacturer’s LMP2 squad is a possibility, although nothing has been set in stone.

“I’ve no direction on WEC, or anything confirmed,” he said. “And it’s not really a ‘when will I know’. It’s about what we’re really targeting. Even if I were to venture out, the plan would be to come back to Formula 1 in ’25.

“The team is happy with the work that we’re doing and the trajectory that we’re going for, so if a possibility comes to drive in that direction (WEC), to further my foundation and broaden my knowledge in different areas, then I look forward to it.

“But the goal and trajectory is still Formula 1, and the team is still pushing for that, (with me) staying within the team and still pushing for that seat. This is my route, and I’m sure I’ll get there.”

Addressing his run with Alpine in Friday’s opening practice, Doohan said that he was “super happy and content to be back in the car”.

“I feel super comfortable within it, and within the team, so that helps a lot,” he added.

“The session went smoothly, I was able to get through everything with no issues, and I managed to tick all the boxes, so from our side, the session went really well.

“I at least felt much better prepared this year. Last year I was prepared, I went into it with normal FP1 running, high mileage, and then was able to set a quick lap time at the end.

“This year, due to my greater knowledge of Formula 1 machinery, we went for more limited laps, and test-item running for next year, so I had limited laps in terms of pushing, but I was glad the team had faith in me for that.”

Doohan will enjoy a second FP1 outing with Alpine at next month’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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