Five rounds into the season Oscar Piastri is leading the Formula 2 standings. The Australian driver is the reigning Formula 3 champion and is now 15 points ahead of UNI-Virtuosi’s Guanyu Zhou. But while Zhou is rumored to be a favourite for the second Alfa Romeo seat in 2022, for Piastri things look more complicated at the moment.
Piastri's manager and former Grand Prix winner Mark Webber explained the situation at the weekend.
"It’s a bit of a headache because he can’t race [if he wins in F2], because he’s got more super licence points than he needs,” Webber explained to Channel 4 [the broadcaster he works for] at the Italian Grand Prix.
The 20-year-old has an “extraordinary CV for such a young guy, 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.”
If Piastri wins the 2021 Championship he won’t be allowed to continue racing in F2 next season. So with no seats available in F1, what are the options for him?
"He can’t race in that championship next year, so then it has to be a brilliant programme,” said Webber.
"I think the preparation to get him testing, prepared for a race seat in 2023 has to be the goal.”
Currently Piastri is driving for Prema alongside Robert Schwartzman, but he is also a member of the Alpine Junior Programme.
"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," he continued.
“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."
"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."