New F3 champion Piastri praises "invaluable" support from manager Webber

Renault junior Oscar Piastri has praised the "invaluable" support of his manager, nine-time Formula 1 race winner Mark Webber, after clinching the FIA Formula 3 title at Mugello

Piastri headed into the final race of the FIA F3 season level on points with his Prema team-mate Logan Sargeant at the top of the drivers' championship.

Sargeant started the race six positions higher than Piastri but was knocked out of the race and title contention following a collision with Trident's Lirim Zendeli on the opening lap.

Piastri, 19, took seventh place to edge his other title rival Theo Pourchaire by three points to win the drivers' championship.

After securing the Formula Renault Eurocup title last year, Piastri obtained Renault backing and the support of ex-F1 ace Webber ahead of his maiden FIA F3 season.

"Mark has been great, obviously came in as my manager at the beginning of this year, so he's been really good behind the scenes," said Piastri, when asked by Autosport about Webber.

"Obviously I haven't really been able to speak with him in person this year, and to be honest I was a bit surprised he was actually at the podium but yeah he's been great.

"We talk to each other on the phone nearly every day at race meetings - his support is really invaluable to me.

"I'm sure his most important work is probably going to come up in the next few weeks deciding what's happening next year."

Piastri confirmed that a move to Formula 2 is "on the cards", but the identity of the team that he'll graduate with is yet to be confirmed.

Single-seater behemoth Prema is currently leading both F1 feeder series as Mick Schumacher holds an eight-point advantage in the F2 drivers' standings over fellow Ferrari junior Callum Ilott with three rounds of the season remaining.

"Providing everything goes well in the off-season, I think a move to F2 is on the cards," Piastri added.

"Obviously I can't do F3 again [champions are banned from returning], and ideally, I'll be doing F2.

"I don't know if I would say it's a priority [to graduate to F2 with Prema], but obviously they're having a strong year in F2.

"They're leading the teams' championship, so obviously I'd love to go back to Prema and stay there for next year, but I have no idea where I'm going to end up next year so far."

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