Alpine could use its upcoming LMDh program to give young drivers a place to race in anticipation of an opportunity to compete in F1 in the future.
Oscar Piastra had to spend this season as the team’s reserve driver despite winning three consecutive junior championships, while Zhou Guanyu left for Alfa Romeo due to a lack of opportunities at Alpine. With the LMDh program due to compete in the 2024 World Endurance Championship, replacing the Alpine A480 prototype (pictured above) which was originally developed for the LMP1 non-hybrid category, The French brand’s CEO, Laurent Rossi, says that a place in the WEC could be one that Alpine could use for young drivers in the years to come.
“There are a lot of options for them to be in the waiting area,” Rossi said. “The reserve, of course, is one; soon we will have LMDh. So we feel we can manage this group of riders a little bit better than we did in the very recent past when you had a flurry of good talent and not enough spots. So that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Rossi also suggested that the Alpine LMDh program had been discussed with Fernando Alonso as an option for the Spaniard in the future ahead of Alonso’s decision to leave the team for Aston Martin next season. Even before announcing where he will race in 2023, Alonso has already ruled out such a scenario as he wants to focus entirely on F1 rather than the next stage of his career.
“Not in the short term,” Alonso said of a potential return to the WEC, where he previously competed with Toyota. “But I think I’m fresh here, very motivated. I look forward to next year bringing the second year of these rules. We are racing in Las Vegas, maybe in South Africa. All these things are very attractive.
“I feel very fast this year. Last year was a bit of a struggle. But this year I feel 100 percent. Even when thinking about sports cars or IndyCar, it seems like “not now.” My head is completely ‘delete it’ and stay focused on F1.”