Virtuosi Racing's Jack Doohan has been announced as new member of the Alpine Academy for his assault on the Formula 2 Championship, saying that he felt “at home” with the team from the first day.

The Australian racer enjoyed a stellar 2021 campaign in Formula 3, winning four times and notching up seven podiums as he finished as vice-champion to Dennis Hauger. It was an impressive turnaround in form following on from a difficult rookie season with HWA RACELAB, where he failed to take any points.

The 19-year-old said that a visit to the Alpine base in Enstone last October convinced him that their junior programme was the right place for him to continue his development.

“The option came up for me to go to Alpine for the season and I had a bit of time to think about it and to decide what was going to be the best option for me moving forward,” explained Doohan.

“The academy director Mia Sharizman invited me to go to the factory in late October last year. It wasn’t a certainty for me to join the academy then, it was just to go and get a feel for it, to do some physical tests and to see how I got on in that atmosphere.

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Doohan has joined the Alpine Academy
Doohan has joined the Alpine Academy

“Within the first day, I felt at home. The relationship and the atmosphere was just what I needed and I was very happy with the structure that they’ve got going forward.”

Alpine have moved to bolster their academy for 2022, with fellow F2 racer Olli Caldwell also joining after a race-winning season in Formula 3, while 2022 F3 racers Caio Collet and Victor Martins have both been retained.

The new-look line-up have just finished a training camp with the academy in Tenerife and Doohan says that as a member of the academy he’ll have unlimited access to the team’s impressive resources at their Enstone factory.

Within the first day, I felt at home. The relationship and the atmosphere was just what I needed.

“We can basically go in there when we please,” said Doohan. “You have the whole team there to work with, whether that be engineers from the Formula 1 team or from the test team, so we have a huge base of knowledge that we can use going forward. I have got a really good trainer in David Thompson, who manages all things physical for us in the academy.

“There is on-track support as well from coaches and staff members to keep pushing us and to give us the confidence that we need to be able to get the results that they and we want, which is ultimately to win the Championship and to do as good as possible. The structure is only going to be beneficial for me going forward.”

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Doohan will drive for Virtuosi in his rookie season of F2
Doohan will drive for Virtuosi in his rookie season of F2

2021 Alpine Academy duo Oscar Piastri and Guanyu Zhou both fought for the title last year and have now graduated into Formula 1 roles. Title winner Piastri will spend the year as Alpine’s official reserve, while Zhou has earned himself a race seat with Alfa Romeo.

Both drivers were heavily involved with the team behind the scenes, undertaking simulator work and even testing F1 machinery. As a member of the academy, Doohan hopes to enjoy a similarly successful relationship.

“I am really keen to continue my development and keep progressing forward with the Alpine Academy,” said Doohan. “Going forward, I’ll be in Formula 2 with Virtuosi, and I think there will also be some occasional Formula 1 sim work for the development of the 2023 car.

“Then we’ll see how the Championship plays out to possibly get into a bigger car. That would be cool, but we have to wait and see how the performance goes.”