Piastri: Rookie F2 year "very important" as F1 looms on the horizon

FIA Formula 3 champion Oscar Piastri says his rookie Formula 2 campaign is "very important" regarding his plans to reach Formula 1, but has no preconceived expectations for 2021

Piastri: Rookie F2 year "very important" as F1 looms on the horizon

The Australian graduates to F2 this year with champion squad Prema Racing after claiming consecutive Formula Renault Eurocup and FIA F3 titles.

Such accolades have made it clear Piastri is a future star with Alpine confirming the Melbourne racer has been re-signed for a second year of its F1 junior programme.

Having won FIA F3 at his first attempt, the 19-year-old believes he will face a "very challenging year" and is not putting too much pressure on himself to deliver a third straight title.

While he has little expectations for this season, Piastri envisages a two-year plan in F2 before hopefully graduating to F1.

"I think it's a very important year," said Piastri.

"I've got the momentum with me at the moment, off the back of two championships, so if I can add a third in a row, I think that is only going to put me in good stead [for a future F1 drive].

"Having said that, I'm expecting it to be a very challenging year.

"I think the grid this year is extremely competitive, and stepping up to F2 in itself is no easy task.

"The plan is sort of two years, and if I can get it done this year, and make the step up to F1, of course that's even better, and that was the plan for F3, our initial plan was two years and that worked out a bit better than planned.

"I think this year is important, but depending how this year goes, I think next year could possibly be 'the' important year."

Looking ahead to this year, the teenager - managed by fellow countryman and F1 race winner Mark Webber - is hoping to be challenging both his Prema Racing team-mate Robert Shwartzman, and for race wins.

"Obviously I have very good benchmark in Robert Shwartzman," he added.

"I'm sure if I'm challenging him then I will be somewhere near the pointy end of races and hopefully the championship as well.

"Obviously it is a big learning curve. There are pitstops in the races, I have never done a pitstop before so that is something I have got to get used to.

"I'm not really putting too much pressure on myself to achieve anything extraordinary in my first year."

Now fully entrenched in Alpine's junior programme, it is conceivable Piastri could be in the right place and the right time for an F1 graduation should his two-year F2 plan come to fruition.

Alpine currently has Esteban Ocon and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso signed up to two-year contracts, with the former's tenure beginning last year, and the latter's starting this season.

However, Piastri, who tested Renault F1 machinery last year, will find strong competition from fellow Alpine Academy members and F2 drivers Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard.

"I think that timing could work out very well, but in saying that, I've also got two other guys in the Renault academy also in F2 with me. So I can't rely on that to simply get me into F1," he said.

"I'm expecting both Zhou and Christian to be strong in F2 this year.

"I believe that if you are extremely successful on-track, then you can almost make your own timing.

"That's sort of the mentality I'm taking, and it gives Alpine and [director] Mia [Sharizman] a bit of a headache, but it's a nice headache to create I guess.

"If I'm being successful and showing that I'm ready, and that there's no alternative, I think that's only a good thing for me."

shares
comments
Alpine unveils 2021 young driver roster, F2 and F3 programmes

Previous article

Alpine unveils 2021 young driver roster, F2 and F3 programmes

Next article

Campos Racing's future secure despite passing of founder Adrian

Campos Racing's future secure despite passing of founder Adrian
Load comments

About this article

Series FIA F2
Author Tom Howard
Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success? Plus

Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success?

Going into the 2021 Formula 2 season the biggest talking point wasn’t about any drivers or teams, but the new race weekend format. Created partly out of financial necessity but also to spice up the action, the Bahrain opener provided a snapshot of the positives and negatives to come

FIA F2
Apr 4, 2021
Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs Plus

Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs

He was tipped for glory in FIA Formula 2 last year, but was hampered by reliability woes at inopportune moments. Guanyu Zhou knows he won't get too many more chances if he is to become China's first F1 driver, with fierce competition within the ranks of Alpine's junior stable

FIA F2
Mar 25, 2021
How Schumacher Jr earned his Haas F1 chance Plus

How Schumacher Jr earned his Haas F1 chance

Michael Schumacher may have won seven Formula 1 titles, but he didn't even compete for a crown at the second tier. Son Mick put that right in 2020, and proved to Ferrari that he was deserving of a shot at motorsport's elite category in 2021

FIA F2
Jan 9, 2021
The quintet giving Ferrari a tough decision to make Plus

The quintet giving Ferrari a tough decision to make

The Ferrari Driver Academy earned a podium sweep in the first Formula 2 race of the new decade in Austria last weekend. The battle between 'the FDA five' is set to be one of the major subplots of the season, but who has the best F1 prospects for 2021?

FIA F2
Jul 8, 2020
The Williams junior determined to prove Red Bull wrong Plus

The Williams junior determined to prove Red Bull wrong

Dropped by his team in Japan and by Red Bull, Dan Ticktum's single-seater career seemed to be over last summer. But now he's on the Formula 2 grid with the reigning champion team, and he's a new protege of Williams. How did that happen?

FIA F2
Mar 20, 2020
The controversial weekend that ended an American's dream in Europe Plus

The controversial weekend that ended an American's dream in Europe

OPINION: In the latest in our series of features looking back the recently concluded 2010s, we recall one of the many sagas of the 2018 Formula 2 season, which featured unusual fines and an unsavoury clash between team-mates

FIA F2
Jan 3, 2020
The year Leclerc fully revealed his star status Plus

The year Leclerc fully revealed his star status

In the latest feature in our series looking back on the 2010s, we revisit Charles Leclerc's sensational Formula 2 season - where he strode among on-track highs and lows, as well as tragedy away from motorsport, to earn a place on the Formula 1 grid

FIA F2
Dec 26, 2019
Why F1 is no longer ignoring its feeder series Plus

Why F1 is no longer ignoring its feeder series

After the MotoGP-style Formula 1 support ladder was fully united for 2019, Bruno Michel and Ross Brawn share their views on the current state of Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 and explain why investment at junior levels should boost the top tier

FIA F2
Dec 13, 2019