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Doohan Touted as Alpine F1's Future Star

Jack Doohan Eyes Ocon’s Seat in Alpine F1

14/06/2024

As Jack Doohan gears up as Alpine F1’s potential lead, questions arise about Esteban Ocon’s future with the team.

Could he be the one? To succeed Esteban Ocon at Alpine F1, the team is considering promoting their third and young driver, Jack Doohan.

The son of five-time MotoGP world champion Mick Doohan has started a serious preparation campaign in private testing (with a 2022 F1 car) and in the simulator; moreover, he was in Esteban Ocon’s Alpine F1 car during FP1 at the last Canadian Grand Prix. However, he did not drive much due to the weather.

For The Race, the Australian naturally advocated for his team. While admitting that “not making headlines is not ideal,” Doohan highlighted how much he was committing to Enstone to earn his seat.

“I am in the simulator at every European race and whenever I can in between, and I also have 10-11 days in the A522 (the 2022 car, editor’s note) planned… which is more than I could have imagined.”

“I have ensured to do the utmost from morning to evening to maximise myself and put all the odds in my favor.”

To secure the decision, Doohan relies not only on his athletic performance but also on his diligence, his discipline (he spent 10 hours in the simulator on Friday after the very disappointing free practice in Monaco). He also counts on his availability to play the marketing game.

“Nothing happens for nothing and no one is there to hand out anything for no reason, so I try to make the most of my time in the car, whether it’s in testing, in the simulator, or even making the most of my marketing duties. F1 is all-encompassing, and yes, being fast in the car is very important, but it’s the sponsors and marketing that fund us, and that is extremely important. We also represent the Renault group and Alpine Cars, which gives us a comprehensive view.”

In the simulator, does Doohan have a specific strategy to convince Alpine F1 to promote him? For instance, by beating the lap times of Ocon or Gasly?

“It’s quite easy to jump into a simulator and be fast. What can make a difference is working with the team to ensure that feedback is as accurate as possible. When you don’t know, you don’t know, and when you do know, you assert yourself.”

“It’s an assessment but also a preparation. The aerodynamics and tyres team is present when you’re in the simulator, and they can see if I’m not driving as they wish, if I’m not maximizing the aerodynamics. There are several factors that explain why I’m much faster than expected or much slower, and if the track conditions are not good or very good.”

Doohan over Schumacher or Zhou?

Having finished 6th and 3rd in his two F2 championships, does Doohan have the level to be a factory team driver? He reminds that at the start of 2023, in his last F2 season, he was very unlucky with reliability.

“Ultimately, we look at the stats; there’s no little info box that says ‘Jack Doohan had a cracked chassis for five laps.’ That’s the reality one must accept, and that’s what I’ve done.”

“When I get the chance to drive an F1, I make sure to be as fast as possible. And that’s what I’ve done. I’ve raced against Esteban and Pierre, and they can see it, which is important. Even when I qualified 17th at Baku last year, a week earlier, I was at the Silverstone tests with Pierre in the A521, and the track conditions were better.”

Alpine F1 might also be tempted to promote Mick Schumacher or even Guanyu Zhou next year. So, why Doohan and not the others?

“There are other experienced candidates, but I am experienced too.”

“I am fast, I am young. And I think we need youth because I am considered the future of the team. We have a different way of thinking, we haven’t been exposed to previous generations of Formula 1 cars, we come to drive the car and get the most out of it, without complaining about balance, driving, grip, but just getting on board and appreciating the opportunity and making the most of what we have.”

“This is where I feel I can make a difference by coming in, having clear ideas, taking a new direction, and saying: ‘Hey, we have something to build, let’s move forward.'”

Doohan admits, however, that he has worked on one of his weaknesses: his mental approach.

“As a driver, one of my weaknesses was my mental side, especially when I was younger, I was very emotional and passionate about what I was doing, and I had to contain that. I’ve worked a lot with mental coaches to get my thoughts in order.”

“I certainly have strengths, but I am looking to improve them every day. And I would say that in all aspects of my life, but also in my racing, I can still improve because I wouldn’t say any of us is complete. There are always places where I can continue to learn, to maximize.”

Doohan Touted as Alpine F1's Future Star

Doohan Touted as Alpine F1’s Future Star. Doohan Touted as Alpine F1’s Future Star

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