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Alpine reveal 2021 academy line-up

Alpine reveal 2021 academy line-up

F1 News

Alpine reveal 2021 academy line-up

Alpine reveal 2021 academy line-up

The Alpine Formula 1 team has confirmed the drivers that will represent its academy across the 2021 season.

Three drivers have been retained from last year, while a returning face and a new addition complete the five-strong line-up.

Guanyu Zhou, an F2 race winner, leads the trio of drivers that will compete in the F1 feeder series. Last year was the Chinese driver's strongest in the category, finishing sixth in the standings in his second year of competition.

In securing victory in the Sochi sprint race last year, Zhou became the first Chinese driver to win an international single-seater race. The 21-year-old continues with the UNI-Virtuosi team.

Christian Lundgaard enters his fifth year as a part of the Alpine Academy, formerly known as the Renault Academy, and the 19-year-old remains in F2 for a second full campaign.

Last season, Lundgaard finished seventh in the standings and took sprint race wins at both the Red Bull Ring and Mugello. The Dane will remain at ART, the team that took Williams driver George Russell and Mercedes Formula E driver Nyck de Vries to successive titles in 2018 and '19.

Oscar Piastri makes the step up from F3 after graduating as series champion, and joins Prema, the team with which Charles Leclerc tasted championship success in 2017.

Of the F2 recruits, Alpine Academy director Mia Sharizman said: "Zhou is in his third year in the F2 championship. We expect a more stable, consistent experience.

"He had a breakthrough with a race win last year to add to his podiums and I think the time is right and the time is now for him to really attack the championship.

"Christian is at the moment the longest academy driver. This will be his fifth year. He came to us when he was just 15-years-old.

"You can see last year there was no lack of adaptability from F3 to F2 and there were glimpses of brilliance in dominating races – Mugello, Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring.

“This year will be a very important year for Christian and, to be honest with you, it is the first time that he is entering a championship for a second year.

"I think the experience and stability in terms of the package he has got will put him in a good position to challenge, like Zhou, for the top honours.”

With regard to Piastri, Sharizman added: “Going into Formula 2 we believe that with him continuing the association together with Prema Racing will only give him an added advantage for himself.

"Being in the seat of a reigning champion, that is something that gives him all the ingredients to maximise what he can do for the season.”

Alpine will be represented in F3 by newcomer Caio Collet and Victor Martins, who returns to the programme after previously being a part of the Renault line-up in 2018.

The duo were runner-up and champion respectively in last year's Formula Renault Eurocup. Both drivers will race with MP Motorsport.

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