Floersch lands late place on Alpine Academy as Doohan becomes F1 reserve driver · RaceFans

Sophia Floersch has been named as a ninth member of Alpine’s junior academy, just two days after the team announced a roster of eight drivers.

The team has also confirmed Jack Doohan will carry out reserve driver duties for its F1 team this year.

Floersch’s signing forms part of Alpine’s RacHer programme aiming to improve diversity and representation of women in motorsport by offering support for young female drivers. The 22-year-old will return to race in the FIA F3 championship this season.

She survived a horrifying accident during the 2018 Macau Grand Prix which left her hospitalised with a spinal fracture. She returned to compete in FIA F3 in 2020 before later moving into endurance racing and the DTM.

Alpine A523 liveries, 2023
Pictures: Alpine reveal A523 in regular livery and pink colours for first three races

“Joining the Alpine Academy is an honour and a major opportunity in my career,” said Floersch. “I have great ambitions and I am sure by applying the knowledge and expertise from Alpine, it will only help me grow. I can’t wait to start this new chapter and represent the Alpine brand on the global stage.”

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer said the team’s support for Floersch is “more than a sticker”, and she will receive the same level of support of her fellow Academy drivers, including Doohan and Abbi Pulling. The latter will compete in this year’s new F1 Academy series for women.

“It’s support of our academy, just like Abbi Pulling will get,” Szafnauer told media including RaceFans at the Alpine A523 launch.

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“We will help her with any technology that we can help her with. We’ll help with the human performance programme that we’re putting in place and any other area. She can drive our simulator, we run old cars as well and we’ve got a decent amount of engineers that understand racing too. So we’ll help her best we can.

Jack Doohan, Alpine, Yas Marina, 2022 post-season test
Doohan tested for Alpine in F1 last year

“She’ll be competing against the boys in a very competitive formula, Formula 3 is not easy. So we’re going to help her to to achieve.”

Doohan’s appointment as reserve driver was widely expected as he has completed multiple days of Formula 1 testing with the team’s 2021 A521. He also had two Friday practice runs towards the end of the season in Mexico and Abu Dhabi in Alpine’s 2022 car.

He takes over reserve duties from Oscar Piastri, who departed Alpine controversially at the end of last year after signing a race drive with McLaren.

Szafnauer announced Doohan’s new role during the launch of Alpine’s A523 for the 2023 F1 season in London. “Although he can’t be with us here tonight – because he’s in Bahrain getting ready for the F2 championship where he should be, testing – we would like to announce to all of our Australian friends here and others that Jack Doohan will be our reserve driver for 2023,” he said.

View the current list of 2023 F1 drivers and teams

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