Alpine will test four candidates for a drive in their Formula 1 team in 2023 at the Hungaroring in the days prior to the Singapore Grand Prix.
The test is part of the ongoing in-season programme using a 2021 Alpine A521, which was originally meant for Oscar Piastri before he rebuked the offer of a race seat, instead deciding that that he would be driving for McLaren in 2023 after Alpine fumbled his contract.
Although an Alpine spokesperson confirmed the test would be held, they were unable to confirm specific dates or driver lineups.
However RacingNews365.com understands the test is scheduled for before the Singapore Grand Prix and would have up to four drivers including Nyck de Vries, Jack Doohan, Mick Schumacher, and Sebastien Vettel.
De Vries impressed on his F1 race debut this weekend for Williams, finishing in 9th place after he had to substitute for regular Alex Albon who was receiving treatment for appendicitis.
Doohan is a contender for a 2024 race seat, although the feeling is that if Alpine want to promote him then, why not do so for ’23 – as the Formula 2 racer continues with a strong campaign this term.
As for Schumacher, he is expected to leave Haas at the end of the season following a two-year spell.
His options to remain as on the grid in a race seat are extremely limited, with the Alpine vacancy his best chance at doing so.
Vettel to assess options for 2023
The timing is apt for Vettel considering Alpine have now lost their star driver in Fernando Alonso and future prospect Piastri.
After the double blow of losing Alonso and Piastri, especially the manner in which Alpine did the latter, it needs a big name signing to spare its blushes with four-time World Champion Vettel exactly that, if he can be persuaded to postpone his planned retirement.
Even though Vettel announced his retirement after launching his Instagram channel earlier this year, speaking in Monza the four-time world champion said he will “see how I feel like” if he decides to consider other offers that enable him to stay in F1.
“Time will tell what you know, [if there] will be something that is possible to do if there is an offer of any such nature or not,” he told media, including RacingNews365.com.
“Then I will I will see how I feel like at the moment. I’m quite happy to spend more time on other things and look forward to seeing the kids more and stuff like that.
“Then time will tell whether I get bored within three months or three years or I don’t know.”
Vettel has close links to Renault CEO Luca de Mao, who was the Fiat Group chief marketing officer during the 53-time Grand Prix winner’s Ferrari stint before de Mao left to take up post at the French manufacturer.