Oscar Piastri is facing a year without racing in 2022, having clinched the Formula 3 and Formula 2 titles at the first time of asking over the past two seasons.
Now signed up as Alpine’s reserve driver, the Australian has enjoyed a meteoric rise to F1’s periphery but that charge will plateau this season as he won’t occupy a racing cockpit in 2022.
Forced to sit on the sidelines due to Alpine’s lack of customer teams, as well as having Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon signed up, Piastri is taking a positive approach to the year off and says he’s aiming to learn as much as possible.
“I definitely don’t think it will be a wasted year,” Piastri told media, including RacingNews365.com, after taking part in the F1 Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi.
“It goes without saying that I would have loved to have been on the grid but, I think I said when we first announced the reserve role, [there’s] a lot of the things I can pick up [this] year.
“Like the travelling schedule of an F1 season, having to adapt to that without the pressure of having to actually drive, is actually quite beneficial, I guess.”
Piastri set for a year of learning in 2022
Asked what he can learn this season, Piastri believes that not having a race calendar to worry about may even be beneficial and allow him to gradually adjust to the pressures of the F1 paddock.
“Taking these steps without the pressure of having to go out and drive,” he said.
“Listening to Fernando and Esteban. Also, with a new car for [the] year, I can listen to how the car’s developing, and with all my work in the sim, I can try and contribute to that.
“There’s a lot of other things, outside of driving, that make a good F1 driver, make a successful F1 driver. So I think they’re definitely the aspects that I can work on next year.
“One of the main parts of my role next year is to learn as much as I can from Fernando and Esteban.”
Impressed by Alonso and Ocon
Piastri revealed that he was particularly impressed by how assured Alpine’s race drivers were, as he observed the Qatar Grand Prix from within the garage.
“Listening to the way they go about things, the way they make suggestions to the engineers, the amount of capacity they have left to think about ideas and what to change on the car, outside of just driving, is impressive,” he admitted.
“That’s the kind of stuff that I can take forward that I don’t need to be physically driving for. That’s definitely going to be an important part in the next year.”
As for whether the F2 champion might get a chance to keep his race skills sharp in 2022, Piastri explained that there’s not likely to be much scope for a race programme.
“I highly doubt it. I mean, I wouldn’t 100 percent rule it out,” he commented.
“But, if I did race, I think it’d be maybe a one-off appearance or a couple of appearances. I very highly doubt it would be a full season commitment.”
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