The rebranded Alpine Academy that intends to nurture talent to Formula 1 has been formally launched.
A change of branding means the junior academy will fall in line with Renault’s decision to switch its F1 team and motorsport activities to the Alpine umbrella for the 2021 season.
Alpine confirms its junior driver roster which includes reigning FIA Formula 3 champion and Formula 2 graduate Oscar Piastri, F2 drivers Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard, 2020 Formula Renault Eurocup winner Victor Martins and runner-up Caio Collet.
The quintet has been retained by Alpine having been part of the then Renault Sport Academy last year, with Lundgaard the longest serving with 2021 his fifth year.
This will be Piastri’s second year in the programme with the Australian graduating to F2 with Prema Racing this year.
Danish driver Lundgaard will remain with ART Grand Prix for a second season in F2, while Chinese racer Zhou sticks with the UNI-Virtuosi squad for a third year.
Lundgaard won two races in his rookie F2 season to finish seventh for ART while Zhou recorded a victory and a further two podiums to net sixth for the Norfolk-based Virtuosi squad.
Meanwhile, French-born Renault Eurocup champion Martins, who racked up seven wins during his title campaign, will graduate to F3 with MP Motorsport alongside Brazilian rising star Collet, who tested a Prema Racing FIA F3 car in post-season.
Collet scored five wins on his way to runner-up in the 2020 Formula Renault Eurocup for R-ace GP.
Director Mia Sharizman believes this year’s academy line-up contains plenty of talent and potential to reach F1.
“The Academy enters an important phase in its growth since we started the programme in 2016, said Sharizman.
“On paper, this year we have a very experienced line-up with seventeen victories and two championships shared between our drivers from their respective seasons last year.
“We have three very competitive drivers in Formula 2 this year, all of whom have proven they can win.
“For Zhou it’s his third year in the series and it’s time for him to combine his experience and potential to win the title.
“We also have high expectations for Christian who can challenge for the title this year having shown us all glimpses of his potential last season.
“Whilst for Oscar, who is the rookie in Formula 2 for us, enters this year with great confidence after winning the Formula 3 crown last year.
“Our driver pairing in Formula 3 this year is also very strong, with last year’s Eurocup champion Victor and runner-up Caio racing for MP Motorsport.
“We are very happy to welcome back Victor, who was first with us in 2018.
“The drivers in the Academy know what is around the corner for them within our Formula 1 structure. The opportunity will come for those who perform the best.”