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Aussie young gun Oscar Piastri ‘deserves’ to racing in Formula One, Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo, Alfa Romeo

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The chance of Oscar Piastri driving in Formula One next year is increasing as support grows for the Australian sensation to fill the vacant seat on the grid.

The 20-year-old is currently leading the Formula 2 standings on 178 points, 36 ahead of Guanyu Zhou on 142.

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He is on track for his third championship win in as many years, after he won the Formula Renault Eurocup title with R-ace GP in 2019 and the Formula 3 title in 2020 after he was snapped up by the Renault (now Alpine) academy.

Usually the Formula 2 winner would be all but guaranteed a spot on the following year’s F1 grid, but that is not the case for Piastri.

Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi is the only driver who is not yet guaranteed a seat on the grid for next year.

Piastri’s name has been mentioned as one of the main contenders to possibly take over the Italian’s seat if he is not re-signed.

However it is Zhou, who is second behind Piastri in Formula 2, who is favoured to take Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo seat.

Aussie sensation Oscar Piastri has been dominating Formula 2 this year. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Zhou reportedly has $48 million (AUD) in backing to help him secure a seat in the big leagues in 2022, which would see him become China’s first F1 driver.

But all hope is not lost for Piastri after Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur labelled rumours of Zhou’s huge financial support “pure speculation and bullsh***”.

Reports also emerged this week Zhou had ruffled feathers at Alfa Romeo in discussions over the length of a possible contract.

The chances of Piastri driving in F1 next year are growing by the week and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc believe the Melburnian deserves to graduate from F2 as soon as possible.

“He is a very, very talented driver,” Leclerc told The Race.

“I obviously look at all the F2 races and he’s incredibly consistent, always there when he needs to be.

“It is impressive and he definitely has the merit to be in F1.

“I really hope for him – he should be in F1. So, I really hope he will be very soon.”

There is no guarantee the winner of Formula 2 will make the leap to F1 the following season but Leclerc said Piastri has done all he to press his case.

“It’s pretty clear once a driver deserves it,” he said.

“Oscar, it’s his first year in F2 and (it looks likely) he wins it straight away – that’s been the case for other drivers, too.”

Piastri could be the next cab off the rank into F1. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Piastri’s F1 credentials have also been endorsed by none other than his compatriot Daniel Ricciardo, who praised the young gun’s “race craft” and said it would be “cool” to have two Aussies on the F1 grid.

“I am really excited to see … Oscar do well,” Ricciardo told F1TV this week

“I know what it was like for me when Mark Webber was in F1. When I joined the grid he was still there.

“It was cool, it was really a cool feeling and (I was) obviously proud to represent Australia.

“Oscar’s been killing it this year. (He has) really good race craft, as well. (He) seems to have the whole package right now.”

It’s unclear when Alfa Romeo will choose its driver to partner Valtteri Bottas in 2022 but Piastri seems resigned to missing out on an F1 seat for next season.

“I’m not really in the frame at Alfa Romeo, to be blunt,” he told Wide World of Sports.

“I don’t think it’s going to be me. I don’t really know much about it, which is a fair indication that I’m not really in contention.

Piastri has been praised by F1 superstars including Daniel Ricciardo.Source: Supplied

“Being with Alpine, there’s no engine link with Alfa Romeo at all, so it’s not a conventional route to that seat.

“I’d be very happily surprised if I got the drive, but I’m not confident.”

Piastri believes the most likely scenario is being elevated to Alpine’s F1 reserve driver with a view to replacing veteran Fernando Alonso in 2023.

“Regardless of where I finish this year it doesn’t look like I’ll be on the F1 grid next year, but if I have three championships in three years on my resume, well that looks pretty good,” he said.

“It would be very satisfying and it should prove that I can bring plenty to the table for an F1 team in the future.

“It’s a bit of an unfortunate situation, but I’m not the first one it’s happened to and I won’t be the last.

“The logical step would be to get the reserve driver role at Alpine, and then obviously target an F1 seat in 2023.”

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Sebastian Vettel slams 2022 calendar, F1 news

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Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has slammed the Formula 1 schedule for 2022, which features a record 23 races in the calendar year.

Australia, Canada, Singapore and Japan are all set to make their long-awaited return next season after being axed in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent health restrictions.

The 2022 season will start in Bahrain on March 20 and finish at Abu Dhabi on November 20.

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China has been dropped from the F1 calendar for a third successive year, and will be replaced by the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on April 24.

A new race in Miami has also been confirmed for May 8 as the United States hosts two events with Austin pencilled in for October 23.

There will be two triple-headers and seven back-to-back races next year, a tightly-packed schedule that has led to criticism over stress levels for staff.

And this week, Aston Martin driver Vettel has voiced his frustration with the calendar, detailing how it will impact fans and staff.

There will be a record 23 races in the 2022 F1 season. Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images.
There will be a record 23 races in the 2022 F1 season. Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images.Source: Getty Images

“This is only my opinion, and it’s not worth anything, but I think we should not have that many races,” Vettel said, as reported by Wide World of Sports.

“I think (for) one, maybe it’s too many races for the people to watch. It’s not special anymore if there’s that many.

“And (secondly), I feel for (the staff). Us drivers – we are at the good side of things: we can arrive on a Wednesday night and leave if we find a flight, et cetera, on a Sunday night.

“But the team already has a lot more stress. They arrived Monday or Saturday the week before, they build the garage, prepare the cars and then also they have to run the full week and then pack down, send everything back and prepare back in the factory.

“For them, it’s a job that you’re busy all weekdays and nearly every weekend, so you have no time for yourself. And I think we are in a time where people are growing more and more conscious that they have a life, too, and that the life doesn’t belong to the employer.

“I’m not in charge and obviously there’s some other interests, but it’s just making sure that people have a balance between their life at home and the time spent away.

“I think it should be a number of races that is sustainable for keeping your passion for many years and not being, you know, sucked out after two or three years.”

Sebastian Vettel is currently 12th on the F1 drivers’ standings with 35 points. Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFPSource: AFP

It remains to be seen whether or not the experiment with qualifying sprint races, introduced this year, returns in 2022. A decision will be made after the third and final sprint race at the Brazilian GP from November 12 to 14, said the F1 Commission.

The 2022 season will also see the introduction of new cars with redesigned aerodynamics to allow drivers the chance to follow and overtake with greater ease in a sport criticised for its often processional nature.

F1 will return this weekend with the United States Grand Prix, which is scheduled to get underway at 6am AEDT on Monday, October 25.

2022 Formula 1 calendar

March 20: Bahrain, Sakhir

March 27: Saudi Arabia, Jeddah

April 10: Australia, Melbourne

April 24: Emilia Romagna, Imola*

May 8: Miami, Miami**

May 22: Spain, Barcelona*

May 29: Monaco, Monaco

June 12: Azerbaijan, Baku

June 19: Canada, Montreal

July 3: Great Britain, Silverstone

July 10: Austria, Spielberg

July 24: France, Le Castellet

July 31: Hungary, Budapest

August 28: Belgium, Spa-Francorchamps

September 4: Netherlands, Zandvoort

September 11: Italy, Monza

September 25: Russia, Sochi

October 2: Singapore, Singapore*

October 9: Japan, Suzuka

October 23: United States, Austin*

October 30: Mexico, Mexico City

November 13: Brazil, Sao Paulo

November 20: Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina

* subject to contract

** subject to FIA circuit

– with AFP

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Johnny Herbert suggests Daniel Ricciardo talent may have ‘evaporated’, McLaren, F1 news

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Former Formula 1 driver turned analyst Johnny Herbert has questioned why Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo has struggled in the sport since his move to McLaren, theorising his talent has “evaporated”.

Following an underwhelming two-year stint at Renault, Ricciardo joined McLaren ahead of the 2021 season, partnering with British young gun Lando Norris.

But Ricciardo’s maiden season in orange has been anything by smooth sailing, with the Perth driver struggling to come to terms with the MCL35M’s braking system.

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The 32-year-old is currently sitting in eighth place on the F1 drivers’ standings, 50 points behind Norris.

Ricciardo seemingly turned a corner at Monza last month, winning the Italian Grand Prix to help McLaren secure its first 1-2 finish in the sport since 2010.

But the triumph was a lone highlight in what has otherwise been a disappointing 2021 campaign for the Australian.

Daniel Ricciardo failed to escape Q1 at the Turkish Grand Prix last weekend. Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“Daniel has been a shocker,” Herbert told Motorsport Magazine.

“We never expected him to struggle so much.

“I can empathise with him and it’s terrible, especially when it’s been so long and you still haven’t found the answer.

“Still, we know how good he is and he knows it too.

“I’ve heard Daniel’s problems are brake-related, but it’s also down to aerodynamics,” he added.

“If it’s already causing us headaches, think what it’s like for him.

“He’s not too old, he hasn’t had a bad crash. There have been plenty of drivers for whom it (their talent) just evaporated.

“I go back to Jean (Alesi). He was the ‘next big thing’ and yet he only won one Grand Prix. It didn’t work for him, with all his natural talent.

“The problem is that if it doesn’t get better, the rumours start, and once that starts and the tornado accelerates, you’re just a passenger.”

The F1 season resumes next weekend with the United States Grand Prix, which is scheduled for 6am AEDT on Monday, October 25.

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F1 2022 calendar, schedule, 23 races, Australian Grand Prix date, Miami GP, Imola to return, China dumped

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Formula One has released a record 23-race schedule for 2022 with Australia not returning to its traditional slot as the season opener, and China dumped.

It is the third successive year China has been dropped, while Australia is set to host its first race since March 2019.

“Due to ongoing pandemic conditions, China will not be included on the 2022 calendar. China will be restored to the calendar as soon as conditions allow,” said a statement from governing body, the FIA.

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The Chinese GP at Shanghai will be replaced by the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on April 24.

The 2022 season will start in Bahrain on March 20 and finish back in the Gulf at Abu Dhabi on November 20.

Australia won’t feature until round 3 on April 10.

Next year’s schedule also continues a steady growth in the number of events as international sport emerges from the pandemic.

In 2020, there were 17 F1 races, which rose to 22 for this year’s world championship.

Next season, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Japan are all set to return after being axed in 2020 and 2021 because of Covid-19 and subsequent health restrictions.

A new race in Miami has also been confirmed for May 8 as the United States hosts two events with Austin pencilled in on October 23.

Hamilton disappointed in F1 coverage | 00:52

“We are excited to announce the 2022 calendar as we prepare to enter a new era for the sport with brand new regulations and cars for next year that are designed to create closer racing,” said Stefano Domenicali, the president of F1.

“This season has been incredible so far with great battles on the track, large audiences tuning in and fans returning to the races after the impact of the pandemic.

“We look forward to welcoming more fans back next season and hope 2022 feels more normal than the life we have all experienced in the past two years.”

The 2022 season will finish three weeks earlier than the 2021 edition to avoid a clash with the football World Cup in Qatar which kicks off the day after the Abu Dhabi F1 finale.

There will be two triple-headers and seven back-to-back races next year, a tightly-packed schedule which could lead to criticism from teams over stress levels for staff.

It also remains to be seen whether or not the experiment with qualifying sprint races, introduced this year, returns in 2022.

A decision will be made after the third and final sprint race at the Brazilian GP from November 12 to 14, said the F1 Commission.

The 2022 season will also see the introduction of new cars with redesigned aerodynamics to allow drivers the chance to follow and overtake with greater ease in a sport criticised for its often processional nature.

2022 FORMULA ONE CALENDAR

March 20: Bahrain, Sakhir

March 27: Saudi Arabia, Jeddah

April 10: Australia, Melbourne

April 24: Emilia Romagna, Imola*

May 8: Miami, Miami**

May 22: Spain, Barcelona*

May 29: Monaco, Monaco

June 12: Azerbaijan, Baku

June 19: Canada, Montreal

July 3: Great Britain, Silverstone

July 10: Austria, Spielberg

July 24: France, Le Castellet

July 31: Hungary, Budapest

August 28: Belgium, Spa-Francorchamps

September 4: Netherlands, Zandvoort

September 11: Italy, Monza

September 25: Russia, Sochi

October 2: Singapore, Singapore*

October 9: Japan, Suzuka

October 23: United States, Austin*

October 30: Mexico, Mexico City

November 13: Brazil, Sao Paulo

November 20: Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina

* subject to contract ** subject to FIA circuit approval

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