“Too many good drivers performing well”– Alpine talks about how they have several driving prospects in the academy but no opportunity.
Alpine, running under the name of Renault, seems to have an academy with apparently excellent prospects, but it claims to have no space for them to give them a run in Formula 1.
This also comes after their highly rated product Guanyu Zhou is pursuing a seat at Alfa Romeo for 2022 with the cost of axing his relations with Alpine.
“We have an academy and we’ve had it for years, and we’ve developed a number of drivers,” said Marcin Budkowski. “Now we have drivers successful in the highest category just before Formula 1, it shows that our academy has been good at developing good drivers.”
“Unfortunately, if I may use the word, they are coming to maturity at the same time and we have the problem generated by having too many good drivers performing well.”
“The success of the academy is also judged by its output; if your academy never gets a driver in Formula 1, then you’ve wasted your time and your money in supporting these drivers, so in one way, running a successful academy is getting them to Formula 1.
“On the other hand, we’re doing this for ourselves to develop the following drivers we’re going to use at Alpine, but at the moment, we don’t have a seat free.
“We don’t want to stand in the way of the drivers we’ve helped develop for many years. Equally we don’t want to lose them completely from our pool of drivers, so that’s the compromise you have to reach. But it just shows it’s a successful academy we’re running.”
Guanyu Zhou is not alone
While Zhou is seeking his F1 opportunity elsewhere, even Oscar Piastri is also facing the same ordeal, and despite fulfilling the expectations, his F1 career seems to be stalled.
“I think I’ve done a good job of putting myself in a pretty prime position for an F1 seat,” said the 20-year-old Aussie. “I’ve won two championships in a row, and I’m leading a third.
“We are still only halfway through, so a lot can still change, but all the moves in F1 are happening now or have already happened. It’s a bit disappointing the way it’s played out because I really don’t know what more I could have done.
“And [winning the feature race at Monza] was quite nice to make a statement – I’m still here. It’s been a pretty tough few weeks watching everything unfold and not really being involved at all given the position I’m in. But that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”