2021 FIA Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri insists this year will not be wasted despite him missing out on a Formula 1 seat in 2022.
The Australian took his third consecutive championship triumph in 2021, adding the Formula 2 crown to the FIA Formula 3 title of 2020 and Formula Renault Eurocup of 2019, but it was not enough for him to earn a promotion to Formula 1 despite the backing of the Alpine F1 Academy.
Piastri will act as the Alpine F1 Team’s reserve driver in 2022 and will participate in a handful of free practice sessions, and he insists his year will be one of learning despite a lack of competitive action as he learns from both Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.
“I definitely don’t think it will be a wasted year,” said Piastri to Motorsport.com. “It goes without saying that I would have loved to have been on the grid, of course.
“But a lot of the things I can pick up next year, like the travelling schedule of an F1 season, having to adapt to that without the pressure of having to actually drive is quite beneficial, I guess.
“And listening to Fernando and Esteban also with a new car for next 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.”
Piastri says he will learn a lot by being in the garage across a race weekend that will help him become a better driver, and he says it is important he does everything he can to prepare himself for a possible promotion to Formula 1 in 2023.
“There’s a lot of other things outside of driving that make a successful F1 driver,” Piastri added. “Next year one of the main parts of my role next year is to learn as much as I can off Fernando and Esteban.
“Just 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.
“And I think 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.”