The Alpine Academy announced Olli Caldwell as a member of its new-look line-up last week, and the Campos Racing driver has hailed it as ‘one of the biggest steps’ of his career.
With 2021 members Oscar Piastri, Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard all graduating from the academy, Alpine moved quickly to bolster their ranks, signing F3 race-winner Caldwell and vice-champion Jack Doohan.
Along with F3 racers Victor Martins and Caio Collet, the duo will gain unlimited access to the team’s Enstone base and all its facilities.
“Everything that they offer is going to be a really big advantage to me and can really help to improve me as a driver,” said Caldwell, speaking from the Alpine factory. “Joining F2 is a large step, so to do that with Alpine and their expertise is great.
“I can go into Enstone every day and integrate myself within the F1 team, just as much as I can the academy. I can go into any department I want to and learn. That is now the next step-up, Formula 1, so to learn how the team and their drivers work and be able to apply that in F2 will be a huge benefit.”
Caldwell took a win and four podiums in the opening four rounds of the 2021 F3 season, but struggled in the second half of the campaign, taking just four more points’ finishes and dropping from third to eighth in the standings.
With the help of Alpine, the 19-year-old British racer will be looking to rediscover his early-season form at Campos Racing in Fomrula 2. He got a head start with the Spanish team in the final two rounds of the season last year, taking a highest finish of 12th before signing permanently.
He continued: “The target for the final two rounds last year wasn’t results, it was to embed myself within the team and to learn as much about the car and championship as possible, which we achieved. I feel really at home within the team.
“As a driver, obviously you want to be winning championships, but honestly this year is a development year. There are a lot of experienced guys here and quite a few rookies too. Each race will have a new target and the main target of that is to improve me as a driver.”
It’s not just the knowledge of Campos and Alpine that Caldwell will be gaining, with the British racer also getting access to Ralph Boschung, the most experienced driver on the grid.
After enjoying his most successful year of F2 to date, Boschung signed on for a second full season with Campos, and Caldwell says that the speedy Swiss is a great influence to have around.
“Campos are a really good team, especially with Ralph (Boschung) there,” said Caldwell. “He knows the team well and is an experienced driver. Retaining last year’s lineup gives us that extra little bit of stability which I think is good for the team. We've both got goals to get the team up there and get good results.”