Motor racing-Doohan to make F1 debut with Alpine in Mexico

(Reuters) – Australian Jack Doohan will make his Formula One debut on Friday with Alpine at this week’s Mexican Grand Prix, the Renault-owned team announced.

The 19-year-old son of five-time 500cc motorcycle world champion Mick Doohan will replace regular racer Esteban Ocon in the opening session of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Teams are due to field rookie drivers in two practice sessions this season and Doohan will also fill that role at the season-ending Abu Dhabi next month.

The Formula 2 driver has already driven the A522 car on a 100km filming day with demo tires at Monza in September. The Australian has also tested last year’s car privately on several occasions this season.

“Ultimately the goal is to do this every week and this experience is one more step towards achieving that goal,” said the Alpine Academy rider.

“I prepared as best I could, and I think it will be very exciting to experience the car on this type of circuit with high altitude and very high top speed.

Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer said it was important to give young riders experience.

“We have all been impressed with Jack’s progress in so many areas this season and he deserves this chance as we continue to nurture his high potential,” he added.

Alpine will have Ocon and fellow Frenchman Pierre Gasly racing for them next season, but Doohan, who is fourth in the Formula 2 standings with one round remaining, appears to be their reserve.

Australian Oscar Piastri was Alpine reserve this season but has signed to race for McLaren next year.