Three-time champion Piastri may not race at all in 2022 after missing F1 ‘circus trick’


Everything seems so wrong. And for once in the last few days, I’m not talking about anything to do with Sunday’s race in Abu Dhabi.

Well, Sunday’s Formula 2 race, maybe. Because Oscar Piastri took him from pole position to signing in style after an exceptional rookie season that won his third consecutive championship:

2019 – Formula Renault Eurocup

2020 – FIA Formula 3

2021 – FIA Formula 2

Against some quality opposition, the latest title is surely the best, and over the past 12 months as his momentum has built, Piastri has established himself as one of the best talents to come through the F2 system. .

And yet, as he speaks after testing a 2021 Alpine for the first time in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, I ask him if he knows the next time he gets in a race car?

“Uh… next year! “

“Do you have anything confirmed? “

“Not at the moment, no. Hope not too long ago.

The reigning Formula 2 champion, the best junior talent outside of Formula 1 right now – on results to be sure, but on performance, rate of improvement and potential as well – has no plans to drive a racing car again as it is. Seriously, how ridiculous is that?

After Alpine F1 testing, Piastri doesn’t know when he’ll be in a race car next time

Joe Portlock / F1 via Getty Images

Alpine will give Piastri a test schedule and it looks like there are going to be FP1 rides, so it’s not like he’ll never be able to drive a car again. But his piloting career is on this massive upward trajectory, a trajectory that rises so rapidly that it is now forced to come to a complete stop.

“I strongly doubt [I’ll race anything next year]. I mean, I wouldn’t rule it out 100%, but if I ran next year I think it might be a one-time appearance or maybe a few appearances. I highly doubt this will be a full season appearance. “

“I am literally running out of categories to prove myself”

I can not understand. Circumstances play a huge role, with the more experienced Guanyu Zhou selected by Alfa Romeo as a mix of potential and significant funding, and Alpine only being able to offer a reserve role having already locked in Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso – a winner of the race and double world champion no less – in 2022 seats long before Piastri won the F2 season by the skin of the neck. But the fact that he won’t be racing at all next year almost makes it look like he’s being punished for his success.

And while Piastri doesn’t feel like he’s being punished, the fans are. They should see an exciting talent running in one way or another as he’s won everything he’s competed in over the past three years.

Guanyu Zhou and Oscar Piastri on the F2 podium at Monza 2021

Zhou (left) lost to Piastri in the F2 title race but has a 2022 F1 seat with Alfa Romeo

Joe Portlock / F1 via Getty Images

I write a lot for an American website, and while sometimes the US way of doing things doesn’t seem compatible with how European races work, there is no sane way to explain Piastri’s predicament to them. . Its situation is bizarre, because the junior ranking rewards excellence and results (without taking into account the financial weight) up to F2. And then when the last step to F1 is required, that ladder ends.

This is where you clearly need to jump off the top of the ladder onto the circus merry-go-round, and it’s all about the timing. If the circus isn’t close enough at that time, you just have to wait for it to come back, if it ever does, before someone else pushes you off the top of it. ‘ladder.

But when a talent like Piastri sweeps everything in front of him, there has to be another place he can go. Much like the anger over Sunday’s ongoing controversy, it feels like Piastri’s career is on hold through no fault of his own.

It’s no exaggeration to say that he won’t be the commodity he is right now in a year from now, regardless of the fact that he’s likely to do nothing himself to damage his reputation. It’s just because time softens these things if there’s no way to keep the feeling going. Think back to your reaction as you watch the final lap of the F1 season. Whatever your emotions are, I bet they’re a lot less extreme now, even though you still have the same point of view.


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