Formula 2 Champion, Oscar Piastri will have to make do with a reserve role at Alpine for 2022, admitting he would have loved to be getting a Formula 1 racing seat after his title winning F2 season.
Piastri is also a member of the Alpine Driver Academy, but with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon occupying the two available race seats in the F1 team, the Australian who is managed by compatriot Mark Webber, had no other choice but to be a reserve driver for the Enstone outfit.
The young driver is not letting that fact dishearten him, which is clear from what he told F1’s official website in an interview.
“Alpine are putting together such an extensive test programme for this year and I think that speaks volumes about their belief in me,” Piastri revealed.
“The testing programme I’ll be doing, especially nowadays where in-season testing is banned with the current cars, I think it’s very rare to see that – so I think it speaks volumes about what Alpine think I can do. I’m looking forward to it.
“While there is no confirmation of whether it will lead to a step up, it’s definitely a very positive sign that they are very keen to have me,” he admitted.
Being F2 Champion doesn’t guarantee an F1 racing seat these days
Winning the F2 championship is usually the final milestone for a driver before stepping into the big league, F1, but that has not been the case for Piastri, as there are only 20 racing seats in top flight, with a bigger number of talents that come knocking, meaning some will miss out.
“Graduating from the academy is the goal for both parties involved – myself and Alpine,” Piastri pointed out. “I would have loved to have been straight into a race seat out of F2, but the way things have panned out, that hasn’t been possible.
“I’m super happy we could make the reserve driver role happen,” he went on. “Even this year, while I won’t be in a race seat, there is still a lot I can learn, experience the pretty hectic schedule of a F1 season and help out behind the scenes and fully focus on F1 – as that’s where I want to get to in the future.
Despite not expecting racing action this year, Piastri will remained focused on his role with Alpine, and build his experience within the team.
“I live just 20 mins away from Enstone – and I’ll be staying there this year,” he said. “I go to Enstone already four or five days anyway through the academy when I’m not racing – so I feel like I’m already pretty embedded.
“I will be moving away from the academy side of things this year to the main team, so there will be a few new faces as F1 teams are big but looking forward to it and I think we’ll just increase that relationship we already have through the academy,” Piastri concluded.
While Piastri could only muster a reserve role in F1 for 2022, his rival in F2, Guanyu Zhou, who finished third on last year’s F2 season, will make his F1 debut in 2022 with Alfa Romeo alongside Valtteri Bottas.