Alpine Academy and director Mia Sharizman interview

Alpine Academy and director Mia Sharizman interview

10.02.2021: The Alpine Academy – formerly the Renault Sport Academy - enters its sixth year in 2021 and its first as part of the overall transition to Alpine F1 Team.

The Alpine Academy – formerly the Renault Sport Academy - enters its sixth year in 2021 and its first as part of the overall transition to Alpine F1 Team.

 

The programme has grown from strength to strength each year since it was established in 2016. Its goal from the outset has been clear and remains so: for an Alpine Academy driver to be in Formula 1 and become world champion with the team.


Despite a challenging year for the motorsports industry, the Academy was able to execute a full programme of junior motor racing in 2020 and achieve some excellent results on and off the track.


On top of the individual success achieved by its young drivers in each of their respective seasons, the Academy drivers gained invaluable experience from several young driver test days with the Formula 1 team throughout the year, which in turn contributed to the overall development of the race team.


This year the Alpine Academy consists of five drivers. Christian, who is the longest serving member on the programme, enters his fifth season with the Academy and his second year in FIA Formula 2 with ART Grand Prix, on the back of two wins in his rookie campaign.



Zhou will start his third year with the Academy, remaining with UNI-Virtuosi Racing for another season in Formula 2 following his maiden win in the series last year. Rounding off the Academy contenders in Formula 2 is Oscar – the reigning FIA Formula 3 Champion – who will be racing his rookie season in the series with defending champions PREMA Racing.



Completing this year’s Alpine Academy line-up is the reigning Formula Renault Eurocup champion, Victor Martins, and the series runner-up Caio Collet.



Victor joins the programme for a second time having first signed at the start of 2018, while Brazilian driver Caio embarks on his third year with the Academy. Both Victor and Caio will compete in their rookie seasons in Formula 3 this year as teammates for MP Motorsport, following on from their enthralling title battle last year in the Eurocup.




Alpine Academy Director, Mia Sharizman:




How would you assess Zhou, Christian and Oscar’s ambitions in the 2021 FIA Formula 2 Championship?



In Formula 2, we have Zhou competing his third year in the series, Christian embarking on his second year and Oscar entering as a rookie. The level and the competition between our three drivers will be very high and we hope that they will push each other and raise the bar.


Zhou and Christian are staying with their respective teams from last season and Oscar remains with PREMA. This will give all three of them stability to focus and maximise their package between team and driver. The target is clear: to win the championship.



The objective comes with pressure, but we believe Zhou and Christian are experienced enough to handle those demands having already competed in Formula 2, while Oscar has the experience of being in a title fight having won last year’s Formula 3 championship in the closing laps of the final race.





What are the aims for the Formula 2 trio of drivers?


Zhou will have nothing to lose but all to gain in entering his third year in Formula 2. With the experi-ences he has accumulated over the past two years, we believe it will help him to perform consistently at a very high level.



This will be the first time Christian will enter a second year of a racing championship. Since he left karting, he has only done one season in an individual championship. We have full confidence in Christian’s ability in maximising his potential to fight for the title.



For Oscar, we have a driver who has won back-to-back championships in Formula Renault Eurocup and Formula 3. By continuing his development with PREMA, we believe he will challenge for podiums and wins. The three drivers know what is around the corner for them within our Formula 1 structure. The opportunity will come for those who perform the best.



What are your thoughts on Caio and Victor racing in Formula 3?



In Formula 3, we believe we have the most exciting pairing with Caio and Victor. We welcome back Victor to the programme after he won the Formula Renault Eurocup title in 2020. We have seen the strong development of Caio over the past two years in the Eurocup and we believe he is now ready for Formula 3.


Both drivers were fighting neck and neck last year and we feel by pairing them together in the same team, both will push each other and the team to the absolute limit. Selecting MP Motorsport in Formula 3 was a big decision by everyone, including the drivers.



We have been building the partnership with MP in the Eurocup for the past three years with much success and we believe the time is right for us to create and build something together in Formula 3. We expect to see some good and positive results from the Caio-Victor-MP package this year.  




How is the Alpine Academy collaborating with the different junior teams?



Like MP Motorsport in Formula 3, we are working closer than ever with our partners PREMA, UNI-Virtuosi and ART Grand Prix in Formula 2. We continue to grow and build relationships with them using the expertise and tools that we have with the hope they will develop our drivers and achieve greater success in the junior formulae.





Will the team continue to use its Formula 1 test team for young driver tests?


The focus and the target has always been to prepare the drivers at any time when they get the opportunity to be in a Formula 1 car. Likewise, it trains the test team before they move onto the race team. Therefore, the Formula 1 private test programme at various circuits in the Renault R.S.18 car will continue this year to help prepare both sides.



The experience the drivers gather from the Formula 1 test programme matched with performing and delivering results in Formula 2, will only strengthen our drivers’ case to be selected to the Formula 1 team.




- Alpine also photo






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10.02.2021 / MaP

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