The Alpine Academy has undergone a drastic overhaul in 2022. Victor Martins and Caio Collet are the only two drivers staying, which means Alpine have said goodbye to Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri and Christian Lundgaard who’s IndyCar-bound. Martins and Collet are joined by F2 rookies Jack Doohan and Olli Caldwell. What can we expect from these talented young guns?
By Perceval Wolff
Jack Doohan (F2, Virtuosi Racing)
As the son of MotoGP legend Mick Doohan, Jack is no stranger to F1 junior teams. Red Bull and him parted ways after a strong 2021 where he finished runner-up in FIA F3. The Australian has also impressed on his F2 debut for MP Motorsport at the end of the season with seven points and a P2 in only his third qualifying session. For his first full season in F2, he joined Virtuosi Racing.
After dominating post-season testing, the 19-year-old will have big expectations for 2022. By joining one of the top teams, Doohan could have a shot at the title if things go his way. Former Alpine Academy member Piastri won the title as a rookie last year, so why not Doohan?
But considering the level and the experience of the 2022 field, it’s more reasonable to expect Doohan in the top-6 this year with a couple of race wins, and then a fight for the title in 2023. He should also be one of the two main contenders for the Anthoine Hubert Award (the title for best rookie), Hauger being the other one.
Olli Caldwell (F2, Campos Racing)
Olli Caldwell is by far the most surprising name on this list. The Brit has two average seasons in FIA F3 under his belt, the second one with power house Prema. Despite a maiden win in the opening round of last season, the 19-year-old scored only eleven points in the second half, finishing 8th overall. The freshly appointed BRDC Rising Star also made his F2 debut towards the end of last season with Campos Racing, finishing all six races outside of the points.
2022 will definitely be a learning year for Caldwell. By joining Campos he’ll have a shot at podiums, as his new team mate Ralph Boschung showed last year. Caldwell’s main rival will be his team mate. If he succeeds in beating the Swiss driver, he could be in contention for a top team drive in 2023.
Victor Martins (FIA F3, ART GP)
The Frenchman has been one of the most impressive drivers in F3 last season. Fifth in the standings and best rookie with MP Motorsport, Victor Martins was even in the battle for the top three in the championship until the last race. He is moving back to ART GP, the team that brought him to the title in Formula Renault in 2020, with the clear objective of becoming the 2022 FIA F3 champion.
A great challenge awaits the Frenchman who will face fierce opposition from Trident, Prema and his own teammates. The 20-year-old should at least fight for the title until the last round of the season, in order to be a real contender for a 2023 F2 seat at ART GP.
Caio Collet (FIA F3, MP Motorsport)
9th in the standings, second best rookie, two podiums, an impressive run of six back-to-back races finished in the top 5 at the end of the season: Caio Collet had a solid season with MP Motorsport in FIA F3. He was however outperformed by his team mate Victor Martins.
2022 is crucial for Collet’s career. He needs to show Alpine that he is more than just a good driver. By sticking with the Dutch outfit, Collet relies on continuity. It might be difficult to fight for the title in an MP, but he can show his talent with podiums, wins, and consistency. The duel with his new team mate Alexander Smolyar should be interesting to watch, given the experience and the talent of the Russian driver.
Header photo credit: Alpine