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RANKED: Potential Esteban Ocon replacements at Alpine

RANKED: Potential Esteban Ocon replacements at Alpine

RANKED: Potential Esteban Ocon replacements at Alpine

RANKED: Potential Esteban Ocon replacements at Alpine

After five seasons, one race victory and a flurry of intra-team tension, Alpine has announced that it will part ways with driver Esteban Ocon at the end of the 2024 Formula 1 campaign.

The former Force India driver’s future with the French squad had been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks, owing both to the team’s drop down the field so far this season and Ocon’s inexplicable crash into team-mate Pierre Gasly at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The 27-year-old had been billed as the team’s great hope for the future when he put pen to a paper on a three-year contract extension halfway through the 2021 season, shortly before taking his shock maiden victory in Hungary.

But significant tension built up between both parties over the ensuing years, and now Alpine is on the lookout for a replacement. So, who are the major candidates for Ocon’s vacant seat?

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Mick Schumacher

Mick Schumacher is currently Mercedes' reserve driver

Schumacher already has an existing working relationship with Alpine, as he currently serves as one of the team’s drivers in the World Endurance Championship. As well as his hypercar role, he remains an F1 paddock regular as Mercedes’ official reserve driver.

The 25-year-old failed to impress in his two-year spell at Haas, lapping at the back of the field in a woeful car in 2021 before being comprehensively outperformed by team-mate Kevin Magnussen in 2022.

An unproven driver who has been off the grid for two years would not represent an ideal choice for Alpine, but given their drop down the field so far in 2024, they may not be in a position to secure the signature of anybody with a more illustrious record.

Schumacher’s position with the wider business gives him a better shot than anybody else as things stand.

Likelihood ranking: A-

Jack Doohan

Jack Doohan is the son of former Grand Prix motorcycle road racing World Champion Mick Doohan

21-year-old Australian Doohan has been part of Alpine’s junior programme since 2022, leaving behind a similar agreement with Red Bull in order to join the Renault-owned group.

He spent two seasons full racing in Formula 2 between 2022 and 2023, after joining MP Motorsport in the same category for a few races in 2021, taking a total of six wins, five pole positions and 11 podiums in 59 events. His best finish in the series standings was third in 2023.

Doohan’s junior career so far has been impressive if unspectacular. Having lost both Oscar Piastri to a rival from their junior programme in recent years, Alpine may well be keen to prove they can still develop their own talent inhouse.

Likelihood ranking: B+

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Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz continues to impress at Ferrari but has been dropped for 2025

Sainz is the most high-profile driver on the grid whose future beyond the end of 2024 is not already secured. The Spaniard will be replaced by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari from 2025 onwards and has yet to agree to a transfer elsewhere.

The 29-year-old previously raced for Alpine in their previous Renault guise in 2017 and 2018, boasts three career wins in F1, and would surely would be top of Alpine’s wishlist if they had their pick of the field.

But Sainz has been interesting Audi (who will take over the Sauber team from 2026 and have already secured Nico Hulkenberg’s signing for 2025) and Williams, as well as being in with outside chance of taking the as yet unclaimed seats at Mercedes at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen.

Sainz’s array of options mean Alpine are likely to be very low down his list of potential destinations.

Likelihood ranking: E

Zhou Guanyu

Zhou Guanyu is likely to leave Sauber at the end of 2024

China’s first full-time F1 driver was part of Alpine’s junior programme before eventually graduating from F2 to F1 with the Sauber team in 2022.

Now in his third season in the top tier of motorsport, Zhou has struggled to match team-mate Valtteri Bottas’ performances after a promising initial start alongside the Finn, and the signing of Hulkenberg means he is likely to be dropped and therefore available by the end of the current season.

Whether his performances so far have been good enough to spark interest from Alpine is questionable, but his availability, sponsor backing and history with the team could appeal.

Likelihood ranking: D+

Theo Pourchaire

Reining Formula 2 champion Pourchaire is one of the most highly-rated young drivers in motorsport, and recently became one of McLaren’s regular drivers for the 2024 IndyCar season in the United States.

The Frenchman dominated F2 last season, winning the championship in his second year in the category, and took his first top ten finish in IndyCar last weekend on the streets of Detroit.

The 20-year-old has been part of Sauber’s junior programme since 2019, and remains the team’s official F1 reserve driver this season.

Whether a seat at the back of the grid with Alpine would be enough to tempt him from his existing relationships with both Sauber/Audi and McLaren is doubtful, but a young French driver with a stellar record would no doubt appeal hugely to the team if they could snare him.

Likelihood ranking: C

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Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen has been involved in a series of crashes and other incidents so far in 2024

Another driver who has history with Alpine is Kevin Magnussen, the Dane who raced for the team alongside Jolyon Palmer when it was known as Renault.

Since then the 31-year-old has driven for Haas in two separate spells, but his future with the team is uncertain owing to poor performances in comparison with current team-mate Hulkenberg, as well as very erratic and sometimes dangerous driving which has led to him accruing a significant amount of penalty points.

Again, his availability, experience, and likely willingness to drive for a team towards the back of the grid could make him an option for Alpine, but would represent an outside bet at the very best.

Likelihood ranking: C-

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Alpine Monaco Grand Prix Esteban Ocon Pierre Gasly Force India
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