Formula 2 points leader Oscar Piastri is unlikely to be able to claim the final place on the Formula 1 grid next year because of his ties to Alpine, says Alfa Romeo’s team principal Frederic Vasseur.Valtteri Bottas is the final vacancy on the grid for the 2022 F1 season. Vasseur is considering several drivers for the position and previously told RaceFans that Piastri’s F2 rival Guanyu Zhou is “on the list”. Like Piastri, he is a member of Alpine’s junior driver academy.
However Vasseur doubts Alpine would be prepared to let Piastri join their team.
“Oscar is doing a very good job,” he said. “But as far as I know and I understand that he’s linked with Renault, or Alpine.”
“I didn’t discuss with Alpine about this but if you invest in a driver for all the junior series and to have a long-term programme with him, I don’t see the point to let him go to another team in F1,” Vasseur added. “It would be strange.”
Piastri won the Formula Renault Eurocup (now Formula Regional Europe) in 2019, took the FIA Formula 3 title as a rookie last year and is now leading the Formula 2 standings. Vasseur admitted he is a strong candidate for a future promotion to F1.
“He won in a row the Formula Renault, the F3 on the first year and now the F2,” said Vasseur. “It’s not done, the F2, because they have still two events to go, but for sure if you compare with the past he’s doing a very, very strong job
“It’s crystal clear for me that he’s probably one of the best on the field today. And indeed in the junior series he did a great job also last year, he was fighting with Theo [Pourchaire] until the last event. He’s one of the young kids that will be successful in F1, for sure.”
If Piastri wins the F2 title he will not be allowed to race in the championship again next year. However Vasseur says this won’t necessarily hurt his chances of succeeding in F1.
“First of all Oscar, so far he’s leading the championship but he’s not champion, it could be the situation that he could do another season in F2. And for sure, each year the situation is different with a different number of seats in F1 and a different situation on the driver side.
“I think that Renault helped him to do the steps between Formula Renault, Formula 3, Formula 2. They are supportive with him and it would be a bit unfair to complain about the situation.
“But you had a couple of drivers in the past doing one year of testing or one year of F2 again – if he’s not champion – and then he will be successful in F1. But it’s not because he won’t jump in F1 next year, that it’s the end of the world.”
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