Connect with us

Motorsport

Oscar Piastri in Formula 1, Australians in F1, not being considered, Alfa Romeo open seat, Guanyu Zhou, analysis

Published

on

Australia’s Oscar Piastri should be the next big thing coming into Formula 1, but 48 million problems look set to get in the way.

The 20-year-old says he has a “very slim” chance of earning a seat for 2022, despite years of success that indicate he’s not just ready for the big time, but ready to contend. He even won another race today at Monza.

The F1 driver market went into overdrive in the past week, yet Piastri’s name has barely been mentioned. What’s going on?

Stream Every Practice, Qualifier & Race of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship™ Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >

Mercedes confirm Russell for 2022 season | 01:07

THE RESUME

Piastri’s recent record is incredibly impressive. As a rookie, he currently leads the Formula 2 championship – the series one rung below F1 – and someone with his resume being denied an F1 drive would be almost unprecedented.

The Melburnian is on his way to a third consecutive title, all won in different championships.

After winning the Formula Renault Eurocup title with R-ace GP in 2019, he was signed up by the Renault (now Alpine) Academy.

In 2020, he stepped into Formula 3 and claimed the title with Prema; now again with Prema but in Formula 2, he is on route to yet another.

The last two drivers to win the Formula 3/GP3 title and then the Formula 2 title in consecutive seasons were Charles Leclerc (now at Ferrari) and George Russell (soon to be at Mercedes).

Oscar Piastri won the F3 title last year, and leads the F2 title race this year. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Oscar Piastri won the F3 title last year, and leads the F2 title race this year. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Since 2005, the only GP2/F2 champions who didn’t end up driving in Formula 1 were Davide Valsecchi (2012) and Fabio Leimer (2013), though both had periods as F1 test drivers and drove in at least one practice session.

A third, Nyck De Vries, won the F2 title in 2019 and could yet get a seat in the coming years. He is one of Mercedes’ reserve drivers in 2021.

World champions Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg won GP2/F2 titles, as did F1 race winners Pierre Gasly, Pastor Maldonado and Charles Leclerc, while current drivers Lando Norris, Nicholas Latifi, Alex Albon and Yuki Tsunoda all finished in the top three of a recent F2 season.

Piastri’s greatest strength is arguably his consistency – a frequent problem with young drivers – rather than his pure pace.

On route to the 2020 F3 title, Piastri had just two retirements in 18 races and finished in the top six 12 times, including a third, three seconds and two wins.

In 15 races so far in F2, Piastri has just two finishes outside of the top 8, including a third, three seconds and two wins, having won the feature race today at Monza.

Stream Every Practice, Qualifier & Sprint Qualifying of the 2021 FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN ITALIAN GRAND PRIX 2021™ Live & Free on Kayo Freebies. No Credit Card. No Brainer. Join Now.

Oscar Piastri drove an F1 car for the first time for Renault (now Alpine) at a test in Bahrain last year.Source: Supplied

TAKING THE NEXT STEP

Several moves for 2022 have already been confirmed, with George Russell moving from Williams to Mercedes, taking Valtteri Bottas’ seat as he drops down to Alfa Romeo, while ex-Red Bull driver Alex Albon takes Russell’s old seat.

The big teams are all locked in – Aston Martin hasn’t confirmed Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll yet, but Vettel was believed to have signed a multi-year deal when he joined for 2021, and Stroll is the team owner’s son so he’s not getting dumped.

There’s minor doubt over Mick Schumacher at Haas, even though he’s been infinitely better than well-backed Russian teammate Nikita Mazepin, but realistically there’s only one seat still available.

That’s at Alfa Romeo, where the outfit formerly known as Sauber no longer has to listen to Ferrari to fill one of its spots.

It means Antonio Giovinazzi, who has been mostly anonymous through his three F1 seasons, could be dumped for a younger driver to work alongside the experienced Bottas.

Alfa has a strong option for the future in 18-year-old Frenchman Theo Pourchaire, who is a member of their own Academy; he’s probably a bit too young and inexperienced for the gig.

Yet the number one contender isn’t the F2 leader Piastri, nor even a Ferrari Academy talent – Alfa doesn’t have to listen to Ferrari, but they’re still linked.

Instead Guanyu Zhou is expected to become China’s first F1 driver.

Guanyu Zhou, in his third Formula 2 season, trails Oscar Piastri. He finished 7th and 6th in his previous F2 campaigns. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

He, like Piastri, is from the Alpine system. In his third season in F2, Zhou sits second in the championship, so it’s not like he’s untalented. But the key, as it always is in F1, is the money.

Zhou has a reported 30 million Euros (48 million AUD) in backing for the 2022 season alone, telling reporters this weekend he expects “this will be my last season in F2”.

As for Piastri’s chances of filling the seat?

“I really don’t know, is the honest answer. There’s one spot left, there’s a hell of a lot of people trying to get it,” he said at Monza this weekend.

“Obviously I’m with Alpine, there’s no engine link there, so it’s not the most conventional route of getting there.

“I’ll be honest, the chances are very slim, but for my own sake I don’t want to give up hope yet. I still want to make a statement on track.

“It’s been a tough few weeks to be honest, watching all those seats fill up, but there’s still that one left and Alfa have all the time in the world to decide who they put in. So who knows? I have no idea.”

The Aussie admitted he would be “pretty annoyed” if he wins the F2 title and doesn’t get an F1 seat.

Piastri has won just once this F2 season – the second sprint race in Bahrain – but has been on the podium five times. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“I’ve won two championships in a row and leading a third, but we’re still only halfway through this F2 year so a lot could change,” he said.

“All the F1 moves are happening now or have already happened so it’s a bit disappointing, the way it’s played out, because I really don’t know what more I could have done and today (securing pole) was quite nice to make a statement and I’m still here.

“I think it probably is just a case of bad timing but I still want to try and win this championship, obviously.

“I’ve had a few suggestions of purposefully not winning it to do another year, but that’s just silly.

“I want to win the championship and I think if I do win the championship, I’d be pretty annoyed if something at some point in the future didn’t arise from that.”

Alfa boss Frederick Vasseur said this week the team is considering around half a dozen drivers.

“Zhou is doing a good job in F2, for sure he’s on the list,” Vasseur admitted.

“It’s not only due to the fact that he’s Chinese, but that he’s a frontrunner in F2, he won some races and I think every single team in the F1 is looking after him.

“We always said that we want to have a look also on the junior series, that they are doing two races in a row with Monza and Sochi, and probably that by the end of September with my shareholders that we will discuss the point.”

Oscar Piastri with then-Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo before the aborted 2020 Australian Grand Prix.Source: Supplied

Perhaps another win or two for Piastri could change Vasseur’s mind, though it seems unlikely.

If Piastri does make it into F1, it would mean two Aussies were on the grid for the first time since Brazil 2013, when Daniel Ricciardo was at Toro Rosso with Mark Webber at Red Bull.

Webber now manages Piastri.

Source link

Motorsport

Enzo Fittipaldi crash, Theo Pourchaire, video, Oscar Piastri wins

Published

on

Enzo Fittipaldi, grandson of former Formula One world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, was airlifted to hospital after a serious crash at the start of the Formula 2 race in Jeddah, the FIA said.

French driver Theo Pourchaire, 18, who was also taken to hospital, was involved in the accident which happened when his ART car stalled on the grid.

Brazilian Fittipaldi, 20, then hit him hard from behind.

Stream Every Practice, Qualifier & Race of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship™ Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial >

“The drivers were immediately attended to by emergency and medical crews,” Formula 2 said in a statement.

“The drivers were conscious and extricated by the attending medical crews. Both have been transferred by ambulance and helicopter to King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital, Jeddah.”

“Theo is fine, he has no fracture,” Alfa Romeo F1 boss Frederic Vasseur told an AFP journalist at the starting grid for the Formula One Grand Prix.

Chaos in Jeddah.Source: Getty Images

The Formula 2 race was swiftly red-flagged with the rest of the field returning to the pits.

It restarted 40 minutes later before another accident and red flag brought it to a premature end, with Australian Oscar Piastri declared the winner as his world title edges closer.

Born in July 2001 in Miami, Enzo Fittipaldi graduated from karting through the levels to Formula 3 with Charouz Racing in 2021.

In September, he stepped up to Formula 2 for the second part of the season, making his debut for Czech team Charouz at Monza.

He finished seventh on Saturday in Race 2 in Jeddah, scoring his first points in F2.

He was a member of the Ferrari driver academy from 2017 to 2020. His grandfather Emerson won two F1 world championships with Lotus in 1972 when he was just 25, the youngest champion up to then, and two years later with McLaren.

Enzo’s older brother Pietro, 25, made his Formula One debut with Haas at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, replacing the injured Romain Grosjean.

Source link

Continue Reading

Motorsport

Oscar Piastri world championship, results, Saudi Arabia, standings, Australian driver, F1 prospect

Published

on

Australia’s Oscar Piastri could become Formula 2 world champion overnight after a stellar start to the second-last race weekend of the season.

Piastri claimed victory in the second sprint race in Saudi Arabia, extending his lead at the top of the championship for the F1 feeder series, and will be on pole for Monday’s feature race (1:25am AEDT).

The Melburnian, who will be Alpine’s reserve driver next season after missing out on an F1 seat at Alfa Romeo, leads the championship on 200 points.

Stream Every Practice, Qualifier & Race of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship™ plus Formula 2 Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial >

Guanyu Zhou, who was picked for the Alfa seat, has struggled all weekend and sits third on 143 points, while Robert Shwartzman has moved into second on 153 points.

If Piastri can extend his current 47-point lead out to 66 points, he will clinch the world title before next week’s finale in Abu Dhabi.

Piastri (left) looks to overtake Jehan Daruvala during the second F2 sprint race in Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Piastri (left) looks to overtake Jehan Daruvala during the second F2 sprint race in Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

With Shwartzman starting second in the feature race behind Piastri and Zhou sixth, that appears somewhat unlikely, though possible.

The Aussie would need to win the race with the fastest lap while Shwartzman finishes sixth or worse (without the fastest lap, seventh or worse), as Zhou finishes third or worse.

No Australian has ever won the Formula 2 title, nor of its predecessors GP2 or International Formula 3000.

Piastri would become the third driver to win the Formula 3 and Formula 2 titles consecutively, following George Russell and Charles Leclerc.

Meanwhile Jack Doohan, the son of motorbike great Mick, finished fifth in the second sprint race – just his second F2 appearance – after making the jump up from F3.

Source link

Continue Reading

Motorsport

Hamilton tries to send F1 title fight to finale after Mad Max’s big mistake: Saudi Arabia GP live

Published

on

Lewis Hamilton snatched pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as championship leader Max Verstappen smashed into a wall and could only manage third place.

Verstappen’s hopes were extinguished when his Red Bull speared into the barriers at the exit of the last bend on his final flying lap on the tight, unforgiving Jeddah street circuit just as he appeared poised to unseat his rival.

Follow the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix live from 4:30am AEDT below!

RACE CENTRE: Grid, live timing, results and more

Stream Every Practice, Qualifier & Race of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship™ Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial >

“It was terrible,” said a shaken but unhurt Verstappen.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was second and will share the front row on Sunday.

“What a tough track this is,” said Hamilton after a lap of 1min 27.511sec and who remains on course for a record eighth world title.

“It’s incredibly technical and complex. It’s amazing what they have built, the speed, it’s phenomenal.

“We were quick through practice but particularly FP3 and qualifying, we were struggling with the pace and the tyres, so for us to get a one-two, really proud of Valtteri and the team. It’s a great result.

“Given where we were, I’m grateful for what we have got today.”

Hamilton tops practice on fast track | 01:11

For Hamilton, who has cut Verstappen’s championship lead with successive wins in Brazil and Qatar, it was a fifth pole of the season and 103rd of his career.

Verstappen, who has an eight-point lead over Hamilton with just two races left, can claim his first world title on Sunday if he wins the race and Hamilton finishes outside the top six.

If not, the 2021 title battle will go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi next weekend.

“I don’t really understand what happened (on the final flying lap). I locked up a bit,” Verstappen.

“It was terrible but in general, it was a good qualifying. It was a bit hard to switch on the tyres because it’s a street circuit but I knew the pace was there.”

– ‘Pretty brutal’ –

He added: “P3 is disappointing but today did show that the car is quick around here so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Red Bull team chief Christian Horner was hoping Verstappen’s car did not suffer gearbox damage.

If it needs to be replaced the Dutchman will face a grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

“That was looking like the lap of the year. It’s a great shame,” Horner told Sky Sports.

“He just grabbed the front end at the last corner and tried to keep the momentum — as he could see on his dash he was 0.4 up going into the corner — and unfortunately he has ran out of road.

“Pretty brutal but we’ll hope the gearbox isn’t damaged and see what we can do tomorrow. Max will be frustrated. He knows what a good lap it was.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull made up the top five for Sunday’s race, the first to be held in the kingdom.

Leclerc SLAMS wall hard in practice | 00:31

Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Lando Norris (McLaren), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) complete the top 10.

Securing pole capped a dramatic day for seven-time champion Hamilton. He escaped a sanction for yellow flag incidents in Saturday practice after being summoned over an alleged failure to slow under double waved yellow flags, and for blocking the Haas of Nikita Mazepin.

However, the Mercedes star was cleared of any wrongdoing after the stewards admitted that a double-waved yellow light panel had been activated accidentally.

Mercedes were fined 25,000 euros for the second incident.

Verstappen was hit with a five-place grid penalty for failing to respect double-waved yellow flags during qualifying in Qatar last month.

Follow the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix below!

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending