Piastri feels ‘luckier than 99% of racing drivers’ with Alpine F1 reserve role

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In the round-up: Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri doesn’t feel he has been unfortunate in being overlooked for a Formula 1 drive this year.

In brief

Piastri: luckier than “99% of most racing drivers” with testing programme

Piastri said there will be three elements to his 2022 role with Alpine, following his graduating from their young driver academy. “The first one is, obviously, being reserve driver,” he explained at a Blackbook Motorsport event.

“I’ll be there as a reserve driver in case I’m needed. So I’ll be at every race weekend as far as I’m aware. Certainly all the flyaway races, and I think all of [the others]. So that’s that’s the first aspect.

“The second is a lot of work in the sim, so I’m expecting that to get very busy once the car’s been on track in real life and the correlation between the sim and real life begins, I’m expecting my life to be very busy and spending a lot of hours in a dark room, playing very sophisticated video games.

“And then I guess the third avenue,” Piastri continued, “is we’re doing a big testing programme with Alpine in a previous – I think it will be last year’s car. So that’s my driving for the year. Which of course, I’d love to be racing but with the amount of test days I’ve got in an F1 car, I’m certainly luckier than 99.9% of the population and 99% of most racing drivers too.”

Red Bull agree sponsor deal with crypto brokerage ByBit

Red Bull Bybit branding, 2022
Red Bull presented the Bybit logos on their 2022 show car

Red Bull Racing has signed a deal with cryptocurrency brokerage ByBit. Team principal Christian Horner said the deal will help Red Bull to “enliven the fan experience in F1 through digital innovation” in a way that will let the team have “deeper. more immersive and unique connection with fans around the world.” The deal is rumoured to be worth around $150 million.

Button to have increased marketing role at Williams in 2022

Williams CEO and team principal Jost Capito says the team will be able to make better use of Jenson Button in his ambassadorial role as Covid restrictions are expected to ease this year.

“With Jenson last year, of course, we were limited because of Covid,” explained Capito, after Button had signed to join the team as a senior advisor while maintaining his presenting role at Sky Sports. “He couldn’t come to the team and also when he was at the races, he had to be in the Sky bubble, he couldn’t come.

“We want him more involved in the marketing activities and the various activities we plan if we can do them, after or with – if you can call it after – Covid. I think we have quite a lot planned with him on the marketing side, really, not on the development side.”

Formula E’s Gen3 power increase not a sign of move to permanent circuits

Lucas di Grassi said that although Formula E’s third generation car is expected to be able to exceed 320 kilometres per hour, it is designed for FE’s existing street circuits.

“I think there’s a little bit of a misconception that we’re going to have more power in ‘Gen3’,” Di Grassi said at the Mexico City Eprix, “but the amount of energy we’re going to have is similar to what we have now. The car will not be made to race in the full circuit like this, the car actually is smaller, shorter, [with a] shorter wheelbase to accommodate better the street circuits.

“You still need to do energy management and you still have a limitation on [size of track] – the car will be made for the circuits that we race now. Of course, in some circuits like Paris, which were already kind of tight for the for the Gen2 car, it needs to go a little bit longer.

“But overall, from my understanding, the car is not made to race in traditional tracks like Silverstone or Mexico or Monza. Although the car can reach over 320kph or more, the ratio, the gearbox, everything else will be made to still race on circuits which are city centre circuits.”

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Comment of the day

Ahead of Ferrari’s 2022 launch, Srdjan Mandic says Maranello has everything to lose – or win – with its 2022 challenger:

This really is Ferrari’s biggest chance since 2017/18. They focused all their resources on the development of their 2022 car and also had more time in the wind tunnel than Mercedes and Red Bull. If it’s ever gonna happen again, this season is the best opportunity to win the title.

They made a big step on their power unit last season, not only making it more powerful (though still lacking with their ICE), but also very reliable. Now they need to find the final bits of performance to close the gap to the very top. They have the right tools to do it, but they finally need to deliver. They can’t afford to make silly mistakes, like they did in 2017 and ’18.

If they have managed to build a competitive car, then they have the right driver in Charles Leclerc to mount a serious championship challenge.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Steve_P83, Mister Nillionaire and Roodda!

On this day in motorsport

Nigel Mansell and Elio de Angelis campaigned Lotus’s 91 in 1982, the latter winning in Austria

Author information

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

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14 comments on “Piastri feels ‘luckier than 99% of racing drivers’ with Alpine F1 reserve role”

  1. I guess that Mercedes picture essentially confirms they’ve returned to the silver livery. Hope they do something a bit more interesting with it.

    1. @mashiat Albeit the suit is black.

  2. Here is a question, and I’m not trying to rile anyone up, I am genuinely curious: How does everyone feel about the rise of Crypto companies sponsoring F1 teams/F1 itself? Aside from the general fuzziness and price volatility around these assets (which could just be down to my own lack of knowledge I admit), they raise serious environmental concerns due to the vast amount of energy consumed in the process of mining for such currencies. People are quick to commend Sebastian Vettel for turning his helmet pink to align with BWT’s climate/environment goals, or to scold Aramco because fossil fuels destroy the planet, so do we now react the same way in respect of Crypto firms?

    1. All things considered.

      Crypto companies are far from the worst thing F1 has got it’s money from.

      I see the whole thing as gambling with a tie… A bit like stock trading.

      Seems rather apt for Motorsport sponsorship when you think about it.

      1. Another Essex Petroleum or Rich Energy. Tell Red Bull not to spend the money ’til they’ve banked the cheque….

    2. I think the teams need to be wary of doing deals with some of the crypto organisations. In pro cycling a team has essentially folded because its sponsorship deal went south. Aside from the environmental concerns, it feels like yet another exploitative, late capitalism fad of an industry so these 8-figure sums are eye catching to say the least.

      With the red bull deal, it’s interesting that 150m is above the cost cap so unless this is a multi-year deal, does that mean red bull are just taking a profit or what?

      1. I’ve seen several comments from people in the business doubting those numbers are real @frood19, with the reality according to them probably being closer to some 25 million/year, which would make it about half that for a 3 year deal.

      2. @frood19 I’m assuming it’s multi year as well, given the real estate they’ve got on the car I suspect USD30m a year over 5 years.

    3. I am somewhat worried too. Teams seem to be diving headfirst into a huge bubble full of air. And hugely impactfull on the environment as well @geemac.

      I think they should be made to include these “partners” environmental credentials into their own impact since all of them are “working towards full climate neutrality” in some form or other, while they take money from what is in effect massively energy intensive ponzi scheme that is also very susceptible to manipulation by one or a few partners. Hope they get the money home and dry before that bubble bursts.

      The environmental impact should also be included for all those great oil partners like Aramco, for example. Fits really well with Vettel caring for the environment to have them on their car as main sponsors.

      1. @geemac @bascb Complex topic for me as many put everything in the same basket while there are lots of nuances. I see 3 main categories which are crypto brokers, mined crypto and non-mined crypto.
        Crypto broker is not much different from regular broker and while transaction are polluting by their nature and volume, it’s not much different in the crypto world than stock market. Then it’s left to F1 teams to check how sane is the company they are making a deal with.
        Mined cryptos are usually the ones making the headlines as they are the most resources consuming and include the highest profile crypto (Bitcoin). Due to volatility and rapid evolution of concurrence, those (and non mined cryptos) should be seen as high risk investors. From a financial perspective, F1 teams will probably seek to be paid some extra to cover the risk. From environment and ethic perspective, I wish they would be selective.
        Non mined crypto are usually lower consumption and have less environmental impact (even if this might be compensated by higher volume of transaction requiring energy, or relying on other more energy consuming cryptos to perform transactions), same comment as above but might be worth for F1 teams to be more informative.

        I am curious to see if we are going to get more transparency from some teams as we move towards more focus and claim about being carbon neutral. Some might criticized investment in fossil fuel companies while others see opportunities as those investment are conditioned to a shift towards renewable.

        In short, as long as it doesn’t make an F1 team disappear from the grid, I don’t see these sponsors as better or worse than petrol, disguised tobacco, rich energy and other such companies. Even if the naive in me wish that F1 could do without those.

      2. Well said @bascb, including those clear environmental implications would be a good thing.

        Let’s hope that teams financial officers are solid at guarding their financial health, maybe the extra scrutiny of the budget cap audits might help them be more professional and careful than we have sometimes seen in the past.

  3. 99.9% & 99% separately.

    Initially red RB text on the rear wing, but not anymore, albeit the front wing still has that text, but sharing space with Bybit.

    More specifically, RB’s Thai division Krating Daeng as a personal sponsor.
    A brand division separate from F1/motorsport operations.

    COTD counts out Sainz, which is premature & even slightly unfair as he outscored Leclerc, after all.
    Otherwise, I agree with everything.

    1. @jerejj
      If Ferrari will be a dominant force then of course Sainz will be a serious title contender. Theoretically speaking and in normal circumstances even if Ferrari manage to get themselves in a championship battle with Mercedes and RBR then it will be extremely tight and it will be even more important to have a driver that can make the difference.

      Someone that can extract those crucial extra tenths from the car like Verstappen, Alonso, Schumacher, Hamilton… Sainz outscored Leclerc, that’s correct but he was outpaced throughout all the year and to win a close championship battle you need first pace and then consistency. Leclerc has the pace, he needs to be more consistent, Sainz is consistent but lacks a bit o pace.

  4. That’s a very good YouTube channel BTW. Excellent analyses by a former Mercedes F1 aerodynamicist.

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