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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Piastri: Rookie F2 yr ‘essential’ as F1 looms on the horizon

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The Australian graduates to F2 this yr with champion squad Prema Racing after claiming consecutive Components Renault Eurocup and FIA F3 titles.

Such accolades have made it clear Piastri is a future star, with Alpine confirming the Melbourne racer has been re-signed for a second yr of its F1 junior programme.

Having received FIA F3 at his first try, the 19-year-old believes he’ll face a “very difficult yr” and isn’t placing an excessive amount of strain on himself to ship a 3rd straight title.

Whereas he has little expectations for this season Piastri envisages a two-year plan in F2 earlier than hopefully graduating to F1.

“I believe it is an important yr,” mentioned Piastri. “I’ve bought the momentum with me in the meanwhile, off the again of two championships, so if I can add a 3rd in a row, I believe that’s solely going to place me in good stead [for a future F1 drive].

“Having mentioned that, I am anticipating it to be a really difficult yr.

“I believe the grid this yr is extraordinarily aggressive, and stepping as much as F2 in itself isn’t any straightforward activity.

“The plan is form of two years, and if I can get it carried out this yr, and make the step as much as F1, after all that is even higher, and that was the plan for F3, our preliminary plan was two years and that labored out a bit higher than deliberate.

“I believe this yr is necessary, however relying how this yr goes, I believe subsequent yr might probably be ‘the’ necessary yr.”

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Waiting for this yr {the teenager}, managed by fellow countryman and F1 race winner Mark Webber, is hoping to be difficult each his Prema Racing teammate Robert Shwartzman, and for race wins.

“Clearly I’ve superb benchmark in Robert Shwartzman,” he added.

“I am certain if I am difficult him then I might be someplace close to the sharp finish of races and hopefully the championship as effectively.

“Clearly it’s a large studying curve. There are pit stops within the races, I’ve by no means carried out a pit cease earlier than so that’s one thing I’ve bought to get used to.

“I am probably not placing an excessive amount of strain on myself to realize something extraordinary in my first yr.”

Now absolutely entrenched in Alpine’s junior programme, it’s conceivable Piastri could possibly be in the proper place and the proper time for an F1 commencement ought to his two-year F2 plan come to fruition.

Alpine at the moment has Esteban Ocon and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso signed as much as two-year contracts, with the previous’s tenure starting final yr, and the latter’s beginning this season.

Nonetheless, Piastri, who examined Renault F1 equipment final yr, will discover robust competitors from fellow Alpine Academy members and F2 drivers Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard.

“I believe that timing might work out very effectively, however in saying that, I’ve additionally bought two different guys within the Renault academy additionally in F2 with me. So I am unable to depend on that to easily get me into F1,” he mentioned.

“I am anticipating each Zhou and Christian to be robust in F2 this yr.

“I imagine that in case you are extraordinarily profitable on-track, then you may nearly make your personal timing.

“That is form of the mentality I am taking, and it provides Alpine and [director] Mia [Sharizman] a little bit of a headache, however it’s a pleasant headache to create I assume.

“If I am being profitable and displaying that I am prepared, and that there isn’t any various, I believe that is solely a very good factor for me.”

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