Who will replace Esteban Ocon at Alpine for 2025 F1?

Who will replace Esteban Ocon at Alpine for 2025 F1?

After Esteban Ocon and Alpine mutually agreed to part ways at the end of the season, the Enstone-based team has already launched its bid to secure a driver for 2025 F1, but who is the best fit?

Esteban Ocon and Alpine announced on Monday they would be parting ways at the end of the 2024 season indicating that at least one of the team’s seats will be up for contention next season.

The announcement comes a week after the Frenchman triggered a crash with his team-mate Pierre Gasly during the first lap of the Monaco Grand Prix. Team boss Bruno Famin warned there would be ‘consequences’, raising speculation the squad will have a driver line-up change for the Canadian Grand Prix

Although it is acknowledged that the Monaco crash did not totally influence the team’s decision to part ways with Ocon, it certainly had an impact. His contract was scheduled to expire at the conclusion of the current campaign, making his seat one of ten available for 2025.

The 27-year old joined the then-Renault team in 2020 and went on to claim his only race win at the Hungarian Grand Prix the following year. He also finished on the podium on two more occasions while racing for the team which rebranded to Alpine.

Ocon will continue racing for Alpine up to the end of the season and he stated that he will make an announcement about his future plans “very soon”. However, according to reports, Haas is believed to be interested with Ocon as a seasoned teammate to drive alongside potential signing rookie Ollie Bearman.

Additionally, it has been claimed that he is considering joining Sauber in the event that Carlos Sainz declines the offer from the soon-to-be Audi team. The departing Ferrari driver is currently considering possibilities for his next contract, which include Williams and Audi.

With Pierre Gasly appearing set to extend his agreement with Alpine, which drivers could slot in alongside the Frenchman next season?

Jack Doohan

Although there are big names linked to the seat, Alpine may opt to solve Ocon’s exit by signing one of its rookie drivers.

Doohan’s decision to forgo full-time racing after his Formula 2 career in in favor of a reserve driver role might result to the long-term breakthrough in Formula 1 that he so desperately wants. Having joined the team in 2022, the Australian has undergone a thorough testing program in cars of a lower specification in an effort to move up the ranks.

Since 2011, Renault/Alpine has provided funding for a Driver Academe Program; however, no one from that program has ever been promoted to a fulltime race seat. This almost happened when the squad attempted to replace Fernando Alonso in 2023 with Oscar Piastri, but the Australian was in the process of signing a contract with McLaren.

Although Doohan – the son of legendary motorcyclist Mick – does not have Piastri’s stellar record in the lower racing categories, he enjoyed an impressive F2 career. He ended with six race victories and several top-six Drivers’ Championship finishes after spending two seasons in the second-tier series.

Additionally, Alpine considering him would indicate that he has adequately satisfied the bosses with his performance during his many reserve and test excursions to be worthy of consideration for a fulltime F1 role.

While Doohan might not be the most appealing option to replace Ocon, it might be a workable temporary solution as Alpine attempts to boost its competitive edge and reclaim its winning ways.

Mick Schumacher

Famin hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility that Schumacher will have a surprise F1 comeback with Alpine in 2025.

The German raced for Haas in 2021 and 2022, however he was released as a result of multiple crashes as well as the team’s decision to proceed with more experienced drivers.

Schumacher currently serves as Mercedes’ reserve driver and combines that role with a full-time Alpine drive in the World Endurance Championship after he was unable to secure a spot elsewhere on the grid.

The German has performed exceptionally well in his first few WEC appearances; teammate Nico Lapierre even described his pace as the “strongest” among the Alpine contingent at Imola. He was regarded as a “incredible” driver by Famin, and his previous F1 experience gives him a slight advantage over Doohan.

Zhou Guanyu

Few would argue that Zhou Guanyu’s performance alone justifies another season in Formula One, but it is evident by now that some teams base their decisions on more than just performance.

The most crucial element in this situation? Zhou’s distinction as the first Chinese driver in Formula One, as well as the apparent financial advantages that would benefit Renault and Alpine in a year when Shanghai’s grandstands were full.

Zhou’s credentials are further bolstered by his past with Alpine, where he served as a test driver prior to Sauber handing him his Formula 1 debut.

Valtteri Bottas

Almost certain to be discarded by Audi/Sauber at the end of this season, Valtteri Bottas is known to be scouting around for seats towards the rear of the field.

However, the German marque is angling towards Sauber boasting a revised line-up in 2025, with Nico Hulkenberg having been poached from Haas on a long-term deal.

Meanwhile, Sauber Team Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi has divulged that Carlos Sainz, who will leave Ferrari to facilitate Lewis Hamilton’s arrival, is the preferred candidate to partner Hulkenberg.

Despite rumoured talks with Alpine and Haas, Bottas is more likely to return to Williams, where he began his F1 career back in 2013.

Bottas has demonstrated that his speed has not diminished with age as he has out-qualified Zhou in all eight rounds this term.

He also constitutes the most experienced name available on the market with 230 Grand Prix starts and counting to his name, including five season’s worth of experience at a title-winning operation with Mercedes.

Alpine could do with that vast knowledge that Bottas would be able to bring on board as it strives to recover from a tumultuous start to the term with a revised car concept.

Yuki Tsunoda

Although it might seem an outside bet, Alpine would be unwise to not at least sound out Tsunoda over a potential switch in 2025.

The Japanese driver has been a standout performer this season with five points finishes in the opening eight races to overshadow his more established and more fancied RB team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

But those exploits have not been enough for Tsunoda to be considered to partner Max Verstappen at Red Bull, which has been unenamoured with that ever transpiring.

Tsunoda has outlined that his ultimate ambition is to earn that promotion, but he has also mentioned that he would be open to entertaining proposals outside Red Bull and Alpine should be willing to test that claim.

The Honda-backed driver would be a suitable option which Alpine could build around long-term and he also comes with the guarantee that he gets on with Gasly, meaning it would avoid the same intra-team spat that has commanded the headlines since Monaco.

Leave a Reply