Reserve role means 2022 is “going to be a long year” for Piastri – Ocon

RaceFans Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Esteban Ocon sympathises with Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri who faces a year on the sidelines during the 2022 F1 season even if he wins the Formula 2 championship.

In brief

Opportunity could come suddenly for Piastri in reserve role

Ocon spent a year out of the F1 cockpit in 2019 after losing his drive with Racing Point and was unable to return until Renault, now Alpine, picked him up for 2020.

Alpine confirmed last week its reserve drive Piastri, who is currently leading the F2 standings, will not graduate to F1 next year. Ocon said Piastri “doesn’t really need advice from me” on his F1 future, but sympathised with the junior driver’s situation.

“He’s there, he’s listening, he’s curious, he’s going to be there most of the time that we drive. So it’s going to be a long year for him, for sure.”

Ocon, who scored a shock win in this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, said Piastri should take heart that “you never know in F1, opportunity can rise up quite quickly.”

Olli Caldwell joins Campos for remaining 2021 F2 rounds

Olli Caldwell will fill the vacant Campos F2 seat, relinquished by David Beckmann at Campos due to funding reasons, for the final two triple-header events of the season. Beckmann admitted in September that a split with earlier team Charouz was due to lack of funds to compete and despite stepping into a role with Campos, the number 20 car will have another new driver in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi.

Caldwell came eighth in this year’s Formula 3 championship, taking one win and an additional three podiums and was in a position to challenge for the title until the final rounds. He is understood to have been in discussion with multiple F2 teams and may not stay with Campos for the 2022 season.

Moreno and Blakely win F1 Esports rounds

Bardia Broumand took pole at the Zandvoort round for McLaren Shadow but was beaten off the line by Red Bull’s Frederik Rasmussen, who neatly took the lead into turn one. Rasmussen led for much of the race, before Mercedes’ Dani Moreno made a move work around the banking on lap 19 of 25. Moreno led the field home.

Lucas Blakely took the win in the earlier race for Aston Martin, powering away from the field from pole and crossing the chequered flag with an impressive lead.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Comment of the day

After Aston Martin recruited Mercedes’ chief aerodynamicist, Sumedh argues it might not be their engineering department that is hampering performance.

I don’t know if beefing up the technical department for car development is the issue here.

I just did a quick check on the finishing positions of Aston Martin vs Alpine and AlphaTauri. Aston Martin has been the first car home 10 out of 20 times when compared to Alpine and nine out of 20 times (not considering Seb’s disqualification) when compared to AlphaTauri. So, with a car that is almost at par with those two, Aston Martin has 77 points (95 not considering Seb’s disqualification) compared to 137 of Alpine and 112 of AlphaTauri.

It seems to be more a case of both drivers exhibiting lack of consistency not maximising their positions. Because across the season, the car’s pace seems to be there. What they need is either a superstar driver like Gasly, or some consistent and reliable team-mates like Ocon / Alonso.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Matt Aitch, Sozavele and Swapnil Aman!

On this day in motorsport

  • 25 years ago today Alessandro Nannini tested a Benetton F1 car for the first time since the 1990 helicopter crash which severed his right arm. He drove a B196 fitted with power steering in a two-day test.

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

19 comments on “Reserve role means 2022 is “going to be a long year” for Piastri – Ocon”

  1. I have never seen such equipment like the ones at the picture featuring Albon and Tsunoda and the two karts. Although I know little about karting. What are these, why are the karts on the top of them? Are these some kind of stand or lifting, which allows to lift the kart up to a convenient height for repairs and other mechanics jobs?
    They look a bit strange, are not these prone to rolling over?

    1. Now as I have seen this, it came to my mind that once I have tried a kart in a smaller amusement park, but that not really qualified as real karting, as there stood a man on the rear of the kart, who handled the throttle and we only were allowed to steer, as we were quite young, and the park was not very modern as well ;) Then maybe I can consider it as sidecar experience :D
      Considering that since I have tried real sims, I can not play arcade driving games anymore (because I can not enjoy them – maybe with rare exceptions for the most funny and genuine ones), no wonder that I have more or less already forgot it.

      Karting must be quite cool, although my would-try list is something like (in this order): 1. a Formula Ford or Junior (without aero devices), 2. a modern F4 car, as due to its sophisticatedness it is likely comparably fast to older-era F3 cars, 3. karting. And as a bonus: a Trabant at the Sachsenring :D. There is a fairly amusing oldie game named “Trabi racer”, fairly enjoyable for a (little) while, although iirc I was not satisfied with the AI (at hard they were hard to catch after some failure, and apparently they were not pushing when I was also driving slow).

      Btw: as the newest F4 cars will have or already have halo, are there plans to fit/subscribe halo on the Formula Ford-like cars as well?

      1. They look a bit strange, are not these prone to rolling over?

        Every time you end a training session or quali or race, you need to carry out maintenance on the cart. E.g., I drive a Rotax Max Senior engine. After each session, I need to lubricate the chain, check if the chain hasn’t stretched too much, change the tyres (if they’re dead), etc. Mainly, etc. You need the kart on a trolley to do any job with it.

        Karting is very cool and fun. But only sports karting. I can’t drive a rental kart any more – they are slow, heavy and unwieldy. On a sports kart, however, you can h you have much more fun, and you have to work really hard to keep up the pace. You need to feel every little change in the behaviour of the kart, how the grip changes, and so on. Karting requires extreme precision of your moves: you have to brake very hard but not lock the tyres, you need to lean left and right to load the outside wheel to increase grip level, you have to turn the steering wheel as little as possible.

        All F1 drivers drive a sports kart (KZ2 mostly) from time to time. And some of them drive a sports kart all the time (Alonso). Because you have to. Rosberg in 2016 spent a lot of time driving a sports kart to find the pace advantage to Hamilton.

        Karting is very demanding physically. I once had 8 sessions during a day. Later, I came home, ate, and just went to sleep (or, rather, turned off like a robot). I was exhausted.

        So, yeah, F4 is great, I want to drive an F4 car one day. But karting is also cool, and there’s no reason not to try it.

        1. Hey, I got a question regarding karting. When I was younger, I worked in a camping every summer in south France and one of my tasks was to find a dozen campers each wednesday and go to a karting circuit not far away for a couple hours. The sessions lasted generally 2 x 20 minutes I believe (Qualifying + race).

          This is the circuit just for for reference:

          Now, after every session I had heavy back pain because of the plastic parts on the driver seats hitting my back in every corner.

          I am 1.92 meters tall. Is my height a real problem or are tall drivers a normal thing you see? What can you do on a kart to avoid these pains or is it simply not recommended to do karting when this tall?

          1. @tryneplague – I don’t think there’s an issue with the height. It’s all about the setup of the kart to suit your build. I drove with a European champion who is about as tall as you are, but he has never got any issues. So it’s all about the setup. Probably, you can add some foam plastic sponge or anything like that to the seat so that you don’t hit much.

            My friend was hit on the thighs all the time, so we taped some foam on the left and right sides of the seat, and it worked well, he could focus on the road, not his pain)).

            Another friend got hit tail bone so much during the day he couldn’t seat normally next day. But again, we can add some softener to the seat at the exact place, and it’s fine.

            I always hit the engine cover my right elbow so it bruises. But I bought an arm pad, and now I drive without this problem.

            Most other pains you can tolerate))

      2. Thanks for the nice and interesting answers!
        Yes, this is what I like in the Formula Fords as well, they are good and honest teachers, with biting brakes. In this aspect they are likely similar to the karts, and they can help to improving and pacicing driving techniques even for F1 drivers as you told.

        Now as I have read about it here, it came into my mind that once I have read or heard here or from some good racer pundits that padding the seat or the overall here and there is not unprecedented if there are pains or problems due to the high forces, so it is done even by higher level drivers.

  2. COTD is right. Aston Martin is leaving points on the table with their two drivers (as is Alpha Tauri with Tsunoda). If they are serious about a championship challenge they need to move on from what will be one of the weakest line ups next year.

    How long do they hold on to Lance if they are serious about a championship challenge I wonder ?

    1. Forever… It’s team Stroll baby. Why do you think they’re investing so much in personnel around the drivers? It’s not to make the car equal to competing machinery. To give Lance a WDC chance the car will need to be significantly better than those around him.

      F1 is a funny sport, while it’s highly unlikely that Hamilton isn’t amazing, we really have no idea. Bottas was competitive with an ageing Massa who was humiliated by Alonso back at Ferrari, Rosberg didn’t have that many points of comparison either. How good the Mercedes has made him look is an unknown factor.

      Nothing’s to say Stroll Sr hasn’t been told behind the scenes that the driver is a less important factor than made out to be. If anything his insistence on spending so much to chase this WDC with his son supports the theory.

      1. @skipgamer good point. Some seasons I think we really have no good reference for how good a car or driver really are (and then obviously no way of accounting for year or year progression or decline in a driver). I think the 2012 lotus is a good example – raikkonen and grosjean were pretty competitive but both got obliterated when teamed with Alonso, so do we assume Alonso would have easily won the title in a lotus in 2012? Impossible to say (but fun to speculate!)

    2. About COTD. If the stars are on the right order and we will see Stroll winning the championship with a car that is build right around him. Where will the world put Stroll? Next to someone who has won only one? Villeneuve? Mansell? Button? Hunt? Farina?
      In that timeline he will be in that same list with Schumacher, Senna, Hamilton. Someone who has win a championship. It’s still early to say but daddy Stroll is really building the route towards the championship block by block for his son. It is then up to him to take climb those ladders.

      1. With that turkey 2020 performance I have no doubt with a good car he could be a button, a driver who in the right circumstances can win a title, then obviously he wouldn’t hold the comparison with a verstappen, leclerc, russell etc.

  3. COTD:

    What they need is either a superstar driver like Gasly, or some consistent and reliable team-mates like Ocon / Alonso.

    Tsunoda makes Gasly look like the biggest superstar in the grid. Restricting the analysis to relative comparisions between team-mates is a simplistic approach to measure performance, as it comes from the false premisse of all drivers pairings being on the same level. What if both drivers left too many points on the table or if both of them performed well? Should they have the same rankings?
    Ferrari and Alpine have the strongest lineups of the entire grid whilst Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo probably have the weakest overall (excluding Haas which is an outlier, very bad car and two rookies). How can we tell? The multi-champion CotD’s commenter applied a criteria following the principle: picking other teams in the same league, their direct rivals, and seeing what the car is capable to do relative to them. It works better for teams than driving pairings though, because a ponderation is already done when choosing the teams to compare, which teams ach one reasonably aspire to beat, for instance, Alpine, AlphaTauri and Aston Martin. Comparing team-mates is more complicated because the expectation involved sometimes is not that clear. Sometimes it ends up in a “rock, paper, scissors” deadlock, like the famous case: Hulk beat Sainz, who beat Norris, who is beating Ricciardo, who had beaten, guess who? Hulkenberg!

    So you have to look in a case-by-case basis, finding trends and removing some outliers, and take into consideration major incidents that influenced the results as well. For instance, many people thought, looking into results as they were, that Ricciardo was going to turn Verstappen into a number 2 role given his consistency and Mad Max crashes in 2017 and the beginning of 2018 season. Those hasty onlookers just forgot to consider that Verstappen trailed his team-mate in 2017 not because of being “Crasherstappen”, but because of poor reliability that for some reason hit him harder on that year and in the next one it was Daniel’s time to have a lot of mechanical issues. Even in 2017, despite scoring less points, Max lead Daniel in races before DNFs or other misfortune affecting one of the two more often than not. So he was performing better than his team-mate but the final standings didn’t refect it. A similar thing is happening between Alonso and Ocon, what makes the difference in performance between them greater overall than what the points table is telling. Not because of reliability, but occasional misfortune for Alonso happening when he was very likely going for a nice points finish, something of which only hit Ocon in races when he was running out of the points.
    So let’s not be sluggish or superficial when analyse drivers and teams performances, shall we?

  4. Awesome to hear the names Schumacher and Vettel teaming up again. I had to do a double take as my first thought was of Michael.

    I’ve always liked the RoC format. While some of the cars can be a bit gimmicky seeing drivers compete with equal machinery across multiple disciplines is a great way to judge raw driving skill.

    I wish there was more of it.

    1. Although I like RoC, I like this more:

      It happened more often, but this has too much sliding and bumping. Still fun:

      I wouldn’t mind seeing some of this returning either. ..

  5. I just don’t like the Indycar qualifying format which is why i now tend to just watch the race.

    It just doesn’t build in excitement or have the same sort of tension that other formats have. It just always feels lacking somehow, Theres never any real buzz or excitement around it. I feel the same with Formula E which is kinda similar with the groups.

    And the way they split the session into the groups means the grid often feels like it was more about which group had the best track conditions rather than which team/driver had the best package on the day.

  6. It is ridiculous that someone who finished 6th in F2 last year is getting an F1 race seat when someone who won F3 on the first attempt and is likely to win F2 on the first attempt will miss out. At least he got a reserve role but he should be on the grid.

    1. What’s worse, given Alonso’s latest comments, there’s no chance for Piastri to be in Alpine earlier than 2023 or 2024. Unless, of course, Alpine manages to put Oscar in a Sauber or Williams or whatever.
      Alpine doesn’t have a second team like Red Bull or Mercedes, so it’s much more tough for them to do anything.

    2. Yes, well said. I think I’ll also continuing feeling that Vandoorne (2015 GP2 champion) deserves another shot for a while yet, and of course De Vries should be on the grid.

  7. The 2nd image in Albon’s Instagram post, LOL.

    Correct, having (any) fame always has downsides, such as getting recognized by random people in places.
    At least, some other drivers have this even worse than him, e.g., those who’ve achieved success.

    I share COTD’s view. AM drivers indeed have failed at maximizing points opportunities.

Comments are closed.