Prema Racing’s Oscar Piastri has certainly impressed in the first half of his debut season in Formula 2. At the halfway stage of the eight round season, the 20-year-old leads the championship by five points over his rival and fellow Alpine Academy driver Guanyu Zhou.
By Tyler Foster
After winning the FIA Formula 3 Championship last season at the first time of asking, the driver from Melbourne retained his place within the Prema team while graduating to FIA F2 and taking the seat of last year’s champion Mick Schumacher.
Piastri started the season strongly with a victory in the second sprint race of the season in Bahrain. When asked how he felt his season had gone so far, the young Australian star said that he believes the results achieved so far were “pretty good”.
“We had a solid start and we’ve been quick right from round one. Having a win at my first Formula 2 race weekend was pretty awesome. We had lacked some pace but progressively got quicker on that first weekend and, ever since then, it’s been really strong, consistent, with five podiums and one win so far.”
Despite showing strong racecraft from the first race in Bahrain, his qualifying in the opening rounds left something to be desired.
“Qualifying pace was an area we wanted to work on from the post-season tests last year and the pre-season tests this year and we’ve got on top of that. I think the pole position in Silverstone shows that hard work and that was a big positive.”
Alpine Academy Director, Mia Sharizman, commented on the level of Piastri’s performances so far. “The level of composure that we see in him when he has faced difficult situations shows he has what it takes to fight for the title all the way until the end of the season.”
He has certainly made the most of the opportunities given to him. His performance in the second sprint race in Baku, in which he started 19th as a result of retiring in the first sprint race, saw him fight his way back into the points and finish a respectable 8th with a couple of bonus points for the fastest lap. Piastri has also kept largely out of trouble during each round’s maiden sprint race, which has consistently resulted in him starting near the front for the second sprint race of the weekend.
Sharizman pointed out that, “Oscar is the driver that has the most podiums and the only driver thus far that has been on the podium at every round.” Only twice has he not finished in the points during a race so far this year.
Piastri is not just fighting UNI-Virtuosi driver and title rival Guanyu Zhou for the Formula 2 Championship, he is also fighting for his future within the Alpine Academy team. The Chinese driver is also a member of the junior team alongside the Australian. When asked about the expectations for the rest of the season from the point of view of the Alpine Academy, Mia Sharizman said that the battle for the title will most likely be between the two of them.
“For the remainder of the season consistency is everything. I believe showing mental toughness and racing intelligence is what will get them to be fighting for the title by the last round. As an Academy, this will be the area that we will be focusing on with the drivers. Nevertheless, they shouldn’t lose sight of their continued development as drivers and to demonstrate to the team and Academy their capabilities.”
While the focus for Oscar Piastri will surely be the title, the battle for supremacy within the Alpine Academy will surely be a narrative to follow for any motorsport fan.
Piastri is no stranger to starting the campaign strongly and having to defend a championship lead. He led last year’s FIA F3 standings from the first round to the halfway stage, before regaining the lead in the penultimate round. In what is an ultra competitive paddock, even for FIA Formula 2, Piastri knows his target for the season is to win the championship.
“We’re leading it at the moment, on merit. We’ve not lucked into it as we’ve been genuinely quick at every race weekend. There’s no need for us to change the approach as we’ve been successful in what we’ve been doing so far. A few more poles, wins and a championship sounds pretty good to me!”
The second half of the season will begin with the F2 paddock in action at the ‘temple of speed’ at Monza between the 11th and 12th of September.
Click the banner below if you want to support F1 Feeder Series so it can continue to be great. This is our only stream of income so everything is welcome!