Webber has a ‘headache’ over Piastri’s 2022 plans

Jamie Woodhouse
Oscar Piastri at the Formula 2 Monza round. Italy, September 2021.

Oscar Piastri holds up a finger at Monza during the Formula 2 race weekend. Italy, September 2021.

Mark Webber admits there is a great deal of uncertainty around what the future holds for his client Oscar Piastri.

Piastri is one of the fastest rising junior racers, currently leading the Formula 2 Championship as the reigning Formula 3 champion.

But, while the 20-year-old is very much ticking all the boxes for his performance level, the next step of his career remains unclear.

A member of the Alpine junior programme, Piastri would not be allowed to continue in Formula 2 if he wins the 2021 title, while his superlicence points also comfortably satisfy FIA criteria, but there appears no realistic opening remaining on the 2022 Formula 1 grid.

And so, this is a “headache” which Webber is trying to solve.

“It’s a bit of a headache because he can’t race [in F2], because he’s got more superlicence points than he needs, so extraordinary CV for such a young guy,” Webber told Channel 4 at the Italian Grand Prix.

“But of course he can’t race in Formula 2 if…there is still a long way to go, he hasn’t got the championship, he’s doing well but of course we have to see how he goes in that.

“But he can’t race in that championship next year, so then it has to be a brilliant programme.

“I think the preparation to get him testing, prepared for a race seat in 2023 has to be the goal.

“He’s putting a lot of pressure on them [Alpine] to find options for him in the future, the seats are tightening up, as we are seeing now the market is very much alive at the moment, or coming to a bit of an end.”

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Webber believes that there is a huge pool of talent, including Piastri, which deserves the chance to join Formula 1’s brightest prospects currently establishing themselves in the series.

But, the lack of seats available is a major roadblock, and Webber feels it is time for Formula 1 to shuffle out some of the drivers who do not have the “enthusiasm” and “passion” to create some openings.

“The sport is in safe hands with some of that young blood, but there are still more Leclercs and Georges and Landos in this paddock, but they’re not going up next year,” Webber stated.

“And that’s what we have still got to work on, we still have to filter out some of the enthusiasm and passion for some of the drivers that are here, and get that fresher blood in.

“Because they can join the great crop that is there already [in Formula 1].”