As it enters its sixth year, the Alpine F1 team has revealed its 2021 Academy line-up as Victor Martins joins Christian Lundgaard, Guanyu Zhou, Oscar Piastri and Caio Collet who are all retained for another year.
Zhou enter his third year in the academy and in Formula 2. The Chinese driver remains with UNI-Virtuosi Racing for 2021, after claiming his first win in the series last year in Russia. The win meant Zhou entered the record books to become the first mainland Chinese driver to win an international single seater race.
Nineteen-year-old Lundgaard is retained by the academy for a fifth year, making him the longest serving driver on the programme. The Dane is set to embark on his second year in F1’s primary support series with ART Grand Prix, after an impressive rookie campaign, which saw the teen claim two wins and four podium finishes.
The academy’s third and final entrant in Formula 2 is Piastri – the reigning FIA Formula 3 champion – who embarks on his rookie campaign in the series with defending champions PREMA Racing. The Australian is eager to continue his momentum from last year, when the 19-year-old claimed two wins and four podiums en route to securing the F3 title.
Rounding off the 2021 Academy roster is last year’s Formula Renault Eurocup champion Martins (pictured), and runner-up Collet. The Eurocup title rivals both make the step up into F3 this year as team-mates at MP Motorsport. Martins returns to the programme by virtue of winning the Eurocup last year having first joined the Academy at the start of the 2018 season.
The 2021 Formula 2 season is set to start in Bahrain at the end of March alongside the opening round of the F1 calendar. Martins and Collet will have to wait a little longer, as their F3 season starts two months later when they visit the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at the beginning of May.
“The Academy enters an important phase in its growth since we started the programme in 2016,” said Alpine Academy Director, Mia 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.”
“We are proud to announce the Academy’s sixth ever driver line-up and its first as part of the Alpine Racing universe,” added Laurent Rossi, Chief Executive Officer of Alpine Cars. “Having a young driver programme is part of our DNA as a race team and as in previous years, the Academy will draw benefits from the development of the Formula 1 team.
“The Academy’s goal has been to develop and push our young drivers into Formula 1 to become a champion with the F1 team, and we remain committed as ever to seeing this goal achieved. This year we are eager to watch our Academy prospects in both Formula 2 and Formula 3 continue to go from strength to strength as they represent the Alpine name.”