Oscar Piastri: Alpine Academy Focus

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Oscar Piastri Alpine F2

Oscar Piastri is the reigning FIA F3 champion, managed by Australian F1 legend Mark Webber, and in 2021 Piastri will step into Mick Schumacher’s old Prema F2 car. There’s little wonder he’s one of Alpine’s brightest hopes for a future F1 star.

Oscar Piastri: Early Years

Piastri was born in Melbourne, Australia on the 6th April 2001.  Much like Lewis Hamilton before him, he received a radio-controlled car when he was 5 which he started racing a couple of years later.  Through the R/C car club, Piastri and his dad met another club member who owned a go-kart. A young Oscar was able to try it out and one week later, Piastri had his own kart.

Oscar began kart racing around 2010 at the age of 10.  No doubt helped by living in Melbourne, and with Mark Webber racing at Red Bull, Piastri became passionate about F1 and all things motorsport.  The fascination led to Piastri becoming a professional kart racer in 2014. He spent time racing across Australia, then Europe, and finally in the CIK-FIA OK Junior World Championship in 2016 where he finished 6th.

Graduating to single-seaters

Late on in 2016, Team Dragon F4 put Piastri in one of their cars for the winter Formula 4 UAE Championship.  Making his debut for the second round at Yas Marina, Piastri also raced at Dubai Autodrome before another event at Yas Marina.  Finishing no lower than 6th in any of his races and with 2 podiums, it was a successful first campaign for the young Aussie.

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Next up for Piastri was British F4 where he would be in the Arden team set up by Red Bull boss, Christian Horner.  It was another strong showing with 6 wins and 6 podiums as he finished runner up in the standings.

For 2018, Piastri moved to Formula Renault Eurocup.  He remained with Arden for the season achieving 3 podiums on his way to 9th in the standings.  Switching to the reigning team champions, R-ace GP, for 2019 allowed Piastri to fulfil his potential and he scooped the title at the final round at Yas Marina.

Piastri joins Renault and FIA F3

Oscar Piastri was announced as a Renault Driver Academy member in January 2020.  Renault made arrangements for Piastri to attend his home Grand Prix with their F1 team to observe and learn.  Sadly for Piastri, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the Melbourne event.

In happier news though, Piastri was signed by Prema Racing to compete in FIA F3 for 2020.  It was a thrilling season-long battle between Piastri, teammate and friend, Logan Sargeant and ART Grand Prix driver Theo Pourchaire.

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At the final Sprint race in Monza, Sargeant and Piastri were tied on 160 points.  Unfortunately, Sargeant was eliminated from the race in a first-lap crash while Piastri went on to finish 7th to scoop the title.

Prema confirmed in December 2020 that Piastri would remain with the team in 2021 but in Formula 2.

Oscar Piastri GP Grandstand F1 Seat Prediction:

In the three full seasons of car racing that Piastri has completed, he has finished 2nd, 1st and 1st.  You don’t get those results and the top seats Piastri has been given by being “decent” or “pretty good”.  You get them by being quick and delivering the results expected of you. Oscar Piastri has clearly done that and thoroughly deserved his F1 outing at the Young Driver test in October 2020. He likely learned from compatriot Daniel Riccardo when he joined Renault for the 2020 Turkish GP, too.

Now the real challenge begins.  It was a tough challenge for Piastri against Pourchaire and Sargeant in 2020.  Pourchaire is also stepping up to F2 this year so we will be able to benchmark their performances relative to each other.  Especially as both will again drive for top teams.

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Our feeling at GP Grandstand is that Oscar Piastri will make it to F1, probably for 2023 but it won’t be until the first few races of the 2022 F2 season that we really get to see if he truly has what it takes.  We hope he does.  Alpine will hope he does.  And we suspect a few million Australians do too!

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