Oscar Piastri has admitted that a potential graduation to Formula 1 in 2022 looks unlikely despite leading the Formula 2 championship with three rounds left to go.
Piastri, who has taken two wins so far in his maiden Formula 2 campaign with PREMA and is currently 15 points ahead of Alpine academy teammate Guanyu Zhou in the driver’s championship, will potentially have to wait to make the jump to Formula 1, with Zhou the hot favourite to land the final seat on the 2022 season where he would replace Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo.
Speaking to Channel 9’s Wide World Of Sports, Piastri played down his chances of landing the second Alfa Romeo seat, with the Australian admitting that he wasn’t really in contention for the seat.
"I'm not really in the frame at Alfa Romeo, to be blunt, I don't think it's going to be me. I don't really know much about it, which is a fair indication that I'm not really in contention.
"Being with Alpine, there's no engine link with Alfa Romeo at all, so it's not a conventional route to that seat. I’d be very happily surprised if I got the drive, but I'm not confident."
With a second season in Formula 2 out of the question due to defending champions not being allowed to defend their title, Piastri looks set to spend 2022 as a reserve driver for Alpine before targeting a Grand Prix seat in 2023.
"There hasn't been any discussion about next year just yet, but looking at how things have unfolded I think the most realistic option is try to win F2 this year and then become the reserve driver for an F1 team next year, the logical step would be to get the reserve driver role at Alpine, and then obviously target an F1 seat in 2023.’’
"If I do have to spend 2022 out of the sport, I'd be reasonably OK with that, but if it looked like two years out there'd be some pretty heavy discussions about the best way forward. Two years out is certainly not ideal, and if it got to that stage, we'd have to look at our options."
Despite a potential year on the sidelines, Piastri declared that he would not hinder his chances of winning the Formula 2 championship, stating that throwing away the title would be stupid and wrong.
"I'm certainly not going to tank the F2 championship just so I can race again next year; that would be pretty stupid. There's all kinds of things wrong with that idea; what happens next year doesn't change what I'm trying to do this year."