Former France football player Zinedine Zidane will be featuring in his first job in F1 when he takes on his role as brand ambassador of the Alpine team.
In effect, this sees the charismatic Frenchman take on the same off-circuit responsibilities as Daniel Ricciardo, who has also signed with Red Bull predominantly as the team’s ambassador.
Unlike Zidane, Ricciardo does have a stipulation in his contract to be available to feature in eight Grand Prix races through the course of the season if the need arises.
Zidane has been away from the public limelight since leaving his position as manager at Real Madrid following a disappointing 2020/21 campaign.
The 50-year-old was extremely successful when he entered management, helping the Spanish team to three successive Champions League titles in his first stint as coach.
Zidane was even linked with the French national team job, but Didier Deschamps eventually signed a contract extension.
Zidane isn’t expected to spend a lot of time in F1 and his return as Real Madrid manager has also often been touted on the back of Carlo Ancelotti exit rumours.
However, while he waits for this deal to materialise, Zidane seems happy enough to make his presence felt in the world of motorsport and Alpine was a natural fit.
Talk about a surprise! 😲— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) February 16, 2023
Zinedine Zidane is revealed as Alpine ambassador! 🇫🇷💪 pic.twitter.com/qbw4hCXioj
Zidane thrilled to be part of exciting Alpine project
The announcement of the 50-year-old’s new role came on the back of Alpine’s car launch ahead of the 2023 season.
“I’m very happy to be here today and spend a great evening with you,” Zizou said.
“I have seen great things and I am ever so happy to be part of this team, to be part of the Alpine team.
“Why? It’s always a meeting that starts something and I had the opportunity of meeting Laurent and the whole Alpine team for a Grand Prix and I think we had a good exchange.
“We shared everything together and I think Alpine and Laurent had the project to give to young people, to have their opportunities for all the young talent. I was very interested in this project.”
Zidane spoke about his desire to coach again, with a move to manage PSG also reportedly in the pipeline.
It means his time in F1 is unlikely to be for long, but fans are expected to embrace him nonetheless.
“Now I have time [for Alpine]… but I don’t know for how long,” Zidane said.
“I know I want to coach again. Maybe I will have time until June, but things can go very fast — for sure, to resume coaching remains my desire.”