F2 leader Piastri says being overlooked for F1 promotion is “tough”

2021 Italian Grand Prix

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Formula 2 championship leader Oscar Piastri is disappointed at being overlooked for a promotion to Formula 1 despite his strong showing in the junior categories.

The 20-year-old is on course to win his third title in consecutive seasons. He won the Formula Renault Eurocup in 2019 and clinched the Formula 3 title last year.

The Formula 2 rookie leads the standings at the halfway mark and has taken pole position for this weekend’s feature race. Despite his consistent success, he appears unlikely to claim a place on the Formula 1 grid for next year, with most of the seats now taken.

Piastri admitted he appears to have missed his chance to gain a promotion to Formula 1 next year.

“I think I’ve done a good job of putting myself in a pretty prime position for an F1 seat,” he said. “I’ve won two championships in a row and leading a third. We’re still only halfway through this F2 year so a lot can still change.

“But all the moves in F1 are happening now or have already happened. So it’s a bit disappointing the way it’s kind of played out because I really don’t know what more I could have done.”

Taking pole position for this weekend’s main event was “quite nice to make a statement I’m still here”, he said. “It’s been a pretty tough few weeks watching everything unfold and not really being involved at all given the position I’m in. But that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”

Piastri is a member of Alpine’s young driver programme, previously known as the Renault Driver Academy. The manufacturer has no customer teams in Formula 1 to place a young driver at, and has confirmed Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon will be Alpine’s drivers again next year.

Another Alpine junior driver Guanyu Zhou, who lies second in the standings in his third year of Formula 2, has been linked to a potential move to Alfa Romeo next year.

Meanwhile Piastri could win consecutive titles in F1’s supporting feeder categories, as Charles Leclerc and George Russell did, but without emulating their immediate graduation into F1. He would not be able to return to F2, as past champions are not allowed to race in the series.

“I think it probably is just a case of bad timing,” said Piastri. “But I still want to try and win this championship, obviously.

“I’ve had a few suggestions of purposely not winning it to do another year but that’s just silly, I want to win the championship. And I think if if I do win the championship I’d be pretty annoyed if something at some point in the future didn’t arise from that.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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17 comments on “F2 leader Piastri says being overlooked for F1 promotion is “tough””

  1. Just watching the F2 first race live. What a recipe for a disaster, these drivers have not driven for two months, then only given one practice session to brush the cob webs off, then first race is an inverted race on a narrow & cold track.
    Result: Numerous shunts from losing it, collisions and several out of the race in the first couple of laps. I feel really bad for these drivers.

    Also, I feel bad for Piastri on not getting a F1 seat, bad timing.

    Tomorrows F1 sprint is going to be interesting after watching the F2 race.

  2. Alpine’s academy seems to be one of the worst places to be stuck in as a young driver, alongside maybe the McLaren academy at the moment. Had Piastri been a Mercedes, Red Bull, or Ferrari young driver, he would almost definitely have a seat in F1 next year with Williams/Alpha Tauri/Alfa Romeo. If he does win F2 this year, I assume the next step might be Super Formula?

    1. @mashiat I don’t think so. Yes being at Alpine doesn’t make things easy but neither would Merc, they’re still trying to place Nyck De Vries into F1 (he’s next up) and then Ferrari has Ilott who’ve they’ve been trying to get him a seat. RB had already chosen their drivers for next year even though it’s safe to say Piastri is better than Tsunoda, but he’s blessed by Honda.
      Plus, there just hasn’t been enough racing in F2 so far to really give F1 teams a good gauge on how good they’re doing. Piastri is doing excellent, has really excelled but he’s currently only 1 point ahead of Zhou in the Championships that has not had many races this year. F1 teams need to sign drivers right now.

      I wouldn’t think Super Formula would be the first place to go. Most likely they would insert him into Alpine F1 team as back up driver and have him present in all the team and driver meetings, do massive amounts of sim testing and attend all the races to groom him. Personally I hope he doesn’t win the F2 champ this year so he’ll get to drive in it next year in F2, probably the best place to develop for F1 compared to anythtng else and he’ll still be able to do everything with Alpine F1 except be back up driver on same weekends as F2. Next year F2 will be much better than this year with them reverting back to older race program.

      1. @redpill I believe if Williams had the option of Piastri or Albon, they might opt for Piastri. Mercedes are trying to help De Vries get a seat in F1, but he just had connections to Mercedes due to FE, and not because he was one of their own exceptional talents. De Vries realistically will never make it to the Mercedes senior team, whereas Piastri would probably represent a future star, so Mercedes would be far more inclined to give Williams engine discounts as they did for George Russell.

        Although the sample size hasn’t been huge, I think Piastri has proved enough for me to believe he is a star. Even in this format, his consistency has been excellent, and generally, his decision-making has been good except for that mistake with Ticktum in the Bahrain feature race. The way he is fairing up against Shwartzman is not too dissimilar to what Schumacher achieved last season.

      2. @redpill Ferrari also has Shwartzman, but both he and Ilott seem unlikely.
        Super Formula is somewhat unfavorable these days, partly for Japan’s restrictions.

  3. I suppose the longevity of driver careers plays a role these days too. There just isn’t the availability of seats there once was. Assuming Max races till his in his 40s like Fernando and Kimi, that’ll be 20-odd years of a seat a youngster can’t get. We could potentially see the same with Russell, Leclerc and Norris. We’ve already kinda lost a generation of potential champions due to Lewis and Mercedes’ domination!

  4. It was amatuer hour in F2 today. Too long of a break and early morning(Europe) race didnt help things at all.

    1. 100% agree

      Must be very frustrating for the drivers and teams.

    2. Revert the F2 format and bring back F2 and F3 in the same weekend next years and onwards. This new format is a total failure.

  5. The FIA owe it to the F2 drivers this year to scrap the rule where the winner can’t return the following season. I’m not sure why more hasn’t been made of this by the true motorsport journalists.

    F2 has been an absolute shamozle this season.

  6. If only he had 30 million sponsor backing.

    1. @jerejj Sadly your right, but supposedly Zhou would bring more than twice+ of that to F1 as a whole because of the increased viewership revenue.

  7. What a waste. Doing Leclerc and Russel should be enough for any low-middle teams to give him a seat. Maybe he should botched this year champion to stay in F2.

  8. I think him and Pourchaire are the biggest talents in F2, hope they can get an opportunity in F1 some day.

    Reply moderated
  9. IndyCar has been an attractive alternative to look at for these young drivers, but the seats are limited there also. Pretty tough to move up when there are only a handful of seats available in either series.

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