Jack Doohan: Australia’s next Formula 1 driver?


For many fans of motorsport, especially Aussies, the Doohan name brings back memories of the legendary multiple time motorcycle world champion Mick Doohan.

He lit up the motorsport world in the 90s and cemented himself as one of the greatest to ever do it on a bike. But it’s his son, Jack Doohan, who’s been in the spotlight over the past few years, fighting for a future on four wheels instead of two.

As we get stuck into F1’s 2024 famed silly season, all sorts of drivers names are thrown out there to fill the grid for 2025, and while Doohan’s name hasn’t typically been front and centre, he absolutely deserves to be.

While on paper his Formula 2 results of a P6 and P3 championship finish in 2022 and 2023 respectively might not scream F1 ready, he arguably could’ve won the whole thing in either year.

Jack (R) and father Mick Doohan (L) of Australia during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix March 23, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia.(Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)

His 2022 rookie season had some expectations after a runner-up finish in the previous years F3 championship, and he more than delivered.

A pole position in the opening round of the season should’ve seen him take a big points haul and the early championship lead, but his eagerness to keep the position on track after his pit stop led to a broken front wing and a ruined race.

An extremely promising but inconsistent year really kicked into gear towards the end of the season, where he scored a sprint race win in Budapest, a double podium weekend including his first feature race win at Spa Francorchamps, and suffered three DNF’s from winning positions in the final three feature races of the season.

He was first taken out from behind in Zandvoort whilst in net second place, then his car suffered a failure from pole in Monza, and in the final race in Abu Dhabi, his team didn’t fully secure a wheel at his pit stop when he was set for a late charge to the front. If he’d gained the 100 points that were on the table from these three races plus the first one of the season, Doohan would’ve been right in the championship mix.

It was a strong rookie year regardless, and he went into the 2023 season as one of the favourites to win the whole thing, but it initially seemed the F1 dream was going to slip away.

Doohan’s horror luck continued as a cracked chassis, an engine down on power, and other car issues plagued his first half of the season. He regularly finished outside the points, and his only highlight from a dismal first five rounds was a podium in Jeddah. But once his team had ironed out the issues, Doohan was unstoppable. He won three of the last five feature races of the season, and outscored everyone else from the fourth round onwards. However his terrible start to the year meant he still finished more than 30 points behind champion Theo Pourchaire.

Jack Doohan all smiles (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Doohan opted against a racing seat this year, which raised some eyebrows, but his reasons for it might’ve been justified. Continuing in F2 for another year would’ve given him all to lose and not much to gain, as we have seen in recent years with Pourchaire, Felipe Drugovich, and Nyck De Vries all becoming champions of the series in their 3rd year and being largely ignored in the F1 paddock. Or in De Vries’ case, being quickly cast aside after barely half a season in the sport.

There were opportunities in other series too if he wanted them, but he chose to sit on the sidelines for the season as Alpine F1’s reserve driver, receiving thousands of testing mileage in their old cars and providing valuable work in the team simulator. It also put him as a front runner for a full-time race seat if one were to suddenly become available – now possible with the recent announcement of Alpine’s separation with driver Esteban Ocon at the end of this year.

This has left Doohan as one of the prime candidates for the opening. Whilst more experienced candidates are rumoured to be in conversations with the team looking to secure their future for 2025, Alpine would do well to put faith in their academy and give the 21 year old his deserved chance, and there is no doubt that he’d be more than ready to take the opportunity.

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