Oscar Piastri is “not very confident” about beating Guanyu Zhou to the last seat on the 2022 F1 grid, saying he’ll instead be a reserve driver next season.
The Australian driver is said to be on Alfa Romeo’s short list to replace Antonio Giovinazzi in 2022. And, given his recent run in motor racing’s junior series, it’s no wonder.
The 20-year-old was crowned the Formula Renault Eurocup in 2019, won the Formula 3 series a year later, and, with two rounds remaining in this year’s Formula 2 championship, he is up in P1.
It could be three titles in three seasons, and yet the Piastri, a member of Alpine’s junior academy, admits he’s unlikely to line up on the Formula 1 grid next March.
“Looking forward, that Alfa seat,” he told Motorsport.com, “I’m not very confident about that.
“Realistically, the most logical pathway is to try and be reserve driver for Alpine for next year and put in a lot of hours in the sim and really working with the team to try and get a 2023 seat.
“I’d be okay with spending one year on the sidelines I think. Obviously, it’s still not ideal, but it’s happened to quite a lot of drivers out there.
Super happy to get my third pole position in a row, and back-to-back feature race wins. It was a good weekend’s work, cheers Sochi 🤟 pic.twitter.com/r1sF2ygXzw
— Oscar Piastri (@OscarPiastri) September 27, 2021
“That one I can accept, but if it was looking like more than one year out, then there’d some serious discussions about what I do moving forward.
“The aim would definitely be to try and be reserve driver at Alpine and then target a 2023 season. Given how the cards have been played this year, I think that’s the most realistic target now.”
Should Piastri win this year’s Formula 2 title, he will follow in the footsteps of Charles Leclerc and George Russell, who both won the two junior titles in back-to-back seasons.
Piastri has taken three wins and a further four podiums.
“I think I caught myself out with how well it’s gone to be honest,” said Piastri.
“Naturally if it caught myself out, and I know more or less what I can do, then I think that’s naturally going to catch out a few other people as well.
“The original plan from even when I got into F3 was two years of F3 and two years of F2. And F3 obviously went better than planned and F2 is also probably going better than planned.
“Not trying to sound arrogant, but there’s very few drivers that have managed to do what I’ve done and what I’m doing.
“George and Charles are kind of the only two that have had a similar fate. So without blowing my own horn, it’s not a very common situation.”