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Alpine Academy

Who are Alpine’s junior drivers?

The Alpine Academy has eight drivers competing everywhere from Formula 2 to karting

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Alpine recently launched their 2023 Formula 1 car, and along with it made some changes to their junior academy.

Alpine Academy
Victor Martins’ Alpine-branded Formula 2 car during pre-season testing in Bahrain (Image Credit: Joe Portlock – Getty Images)

Alongside the car launch, the team also announced a new initiative called “Rac(h)er”, a programme to support young women in motorsport. Six young women have been added to Alpine’s karting programme as a part of this initiative, as well as two women to the driver academy.

From Formula 2 to karting, the brand new Alpine junior lineup consists of eight drivers. It includes feeder series champions and up-and-coming talents in the world of Formula 1. According to the academy director Julian Rouse, the lineup is “the most competitive it’s ever been.” Is he right? Let’s take a look at the drivers on their roster.

Formula 2

Jack Doohan – Doohan switched from the Red Bull junior team to the Alpine Academy in 2022. After finishing as the Formula 3 runner-up in 2021, he made his Formula 2 debut with Virtuosi Racing. During that season he took two pole positions and three race wins, solidifying his presence as a threat to the title from the first round. He ended up finishing sixth overall and stuck with Virtuosi for 2023.

Doohan is one of the early title favourites for 2023 based on his previous results in the category. He’ll be up against plenty of other talented young drivers, but the chances of him joining Oscar Piastri as a Formula 2 champion under the Alpine Academy are high. 

Doohan will also act as Alpine’s reserve driver for 2023, spending race weekends with the team and being ready to fill in should the need arise.

Alpine Academy Formula 1 Formula 2 Formula 3
Doohan after his first Formula 2 Feature Race win at Spa-Francorchamps (Image Credit: Alex Pantling – Getty Images)

Victor Martins – Martins comes into Formula 2 as the reigning Formula 3 champion, for what will be his fourth season as a member of the Alpine Academy. He previously competed with the Renault academy in Formula Renault Eurocup during the 2018-19 seasons, before leaving the team for 2020. But after taking the title in Formula Renault Eurocup that year, he rejoined the reformed Alpine Academy for his next two seasons in Formula 3.

Now he’s joining Formula 2 as a rookie, where he’ll be up against a much more experienced teammate in Theo Pourchaire at ART Grand Prix. 

Formula 3

Gabriele Mini – Mini is another feeder series champion, having won the 2020 Italian F4 season in his single-seater debut year. But he’s a brand new addition to the Alpine Academy, one of the drivers who was announced just recently.

Now, after two seasons in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, Mini comes into his rookie season of Formula 3, joining Hitech Grand Prix.

Alpine Academy Formula 1
Mini during Formula 3 pre-season testing in Bahrain (Image Credit: Joe Portlock – Getty Images)

Nikola Tsolov – Tsolov joined the Alpine Academy in 2022 for his single-seater debut. He competed in Spanish F4 that year, where he took a whopping 13 wins out of 21 races and won the title by over 100 points.

Jumping to Formula 3 after just one season in single-seaters might be a dangerous choice, as most drivers have at least two or three seasons under their belts by this point. All the same, Tsolov will be racing in the category with ART Grand Prix for 2023. He’ll have a lot of catching up to do, but he’s already proven his ability to beat drivers with more experience and will have the support of a Formula 1 team behind him.

Sophia Floersch – Another new addition to the Alpine Academy, Floersch joined the team’s Formula 1 programme under the Rac(h)er initiative.

Unlike Mini and Tsolov, Floersch has years of car racing experience under her belt, and has even competed in Formula 3 before. She made her single-seater debut in 2015, before making her way to the Formula 3 European Championship in 2018. She came to FIA Formula 3 in 2020, but after little success switched to endurance racing. Now, she’s coming back to Formula 3 with PHM Racing by Charouz for 2023.

Alpine Academy
Floersch on day two of Formula 3 pre-season testing (Image Credit: Bryn Lennon – Getty Images)

Outside of Formula 2 and Formula 3, Alpine has four other academy drivers in the lower feeder series: Abbi Pulling, Aiden Neate, Mattheus Ferreira, and Kean Nakamura-Berta.

Pulling is a former W Series driver, now making her debut in the first season of the F1 Academy, another series aimed at promoting women in motorsport. Pulling joined Alpine’s junior programme in 2022, before being promoted to a full Academy member for 2023. She has also competed in junior categories like British Formula 4, where she finished sixth overall in 2020.

Neate is another brand-new addition to Alpine’s team, having made his single-seater debut in 2021. He completed the Formula Regional Middle East Championship earlier this year, although his 2023 plans have yet to be announced.

Ferreira will be making his single-seater debut in Italian F4 this season, in his second year connected with Alpine.

Last but not least, the final member of Alpine’s Academy is Nakamura-Berta. He’ll continue to compete in karting in 2023 with the support of the Formula 1 team for his second season as a member of the academy.

Feature Image Credit: Alpine F1

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