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Sport: Piastri aims to follow Alonso’s lead while on F1 sidelines

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The former if Alonso leaves or Ocon underperforms so badly in 2022 they'd be considering to break his contract in advance for Piastri . The latter if Alpine manages to work out some beneficial deal to loan him to Williams until a seat gets free in their team. Of course that relies on how good will Albon/Latifi duo I didn't follow F 1 when he was in the Red Bull seat though, so I could have the wrong idea. Albon having the experience at Red Bull might be able to help with the culture at Williams and push them in the direction of contending for wins again, but I don't know if it'll have that much if an effect.

Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri won’t face a “direct comparison” over a potential Alpine Formula 1 seat for 2023, according to executive director Marcin Budkowski. Should Alonso wish to extend his time in F 1 beyond 2022 after enjoying his comeback this season, it may leave Alpine looking for alternatives to find a seat for Piastri . While Budkowski acknowledged it was a “good question” what would happen to Piastri if Alonso continued beyond 2022, he said it was “not about a direct comparison” between the two drivers.

Oscar Piastri hopes to use his time out of a race seat to see how Fernando Alonso operates within the Alpine garage in 2022.

Oscar Piastri holding the F2 trophy at the FIA Gala. December 2021 © PA Images Oscar Piastri holding the F2 trophy at the FIA Gala. December 2021

With Alonso being one of Formula 1’s most successful and experienced drivers, that’s a far from unreasonable idea for the newly-crowned Formula 2 champion to follow – but he is unlikely to race at all in 2022, given the rule whereby Formula 2 title winners are not allowed to re-enter the series.

He said being on the sidelines will not be a “waste” of a year of his career however, as he looks to fill his schedule with as much work behind the scenes as he can, in the hope of gaining a race seat with Alpine in 2023.

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Piastri said back in September that he would consider having a year on the sidelines to get fully up to speed with Alpine. The team currently has Esteban Ocon signed to a long-term contract, while two-time world champion Fernando Alonso has committed for the 2022 season. “As weird as this is for me to say, I’d rather not go racing and be fully-focused on my reserve driver role with the aim of trying to get to F 1 in the near future, rather than be dabbling everywhere else and taking a bit of my focus off getting to F 1 .”

Oscar Piastri says he would be prepared to spend 2022 on the sidelines without a Formula 1 seat, but would have “serious discussions” if it looked set to be longer. The FIA Formula 2 championship leader, who is a member of the Alpine Academy, is currently without a seat for next year if he clinches the F2 title. With only one F 1 seat available at Alfa Romeo, which Piastri says he is “not very confident about,” the Australian is instead focusing his attention on securing the Alpine reserve driver role for next season.

Piastri was seen on the pit wall in Qatar in November sampling a race weekend from an Alpine perspective, and he’s been taking as many lessons as possible in seeing how a team operates over the course of a grand prix – and is using the two-time World Champion as his yardstick.

“Obviously, it was a great weekend for the team with the podium for Fernando and fifth for Esteban,” Piastri told Motor Sport Magazine when asked about his Qatar ‘work experience’.

“I did a similar kind of thing in Turkey last year, I sat in on all the engineering briefings, did a bunch of media stuff as well so I learned quite a bit from the engineering side of things in the meetings and stuff.

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Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri won’t face a “direct comparison” over a potential Alpine Formula 1 seat for 2023, according to executive director Marcin Budkowski. Should Alonso wish to extend his time in F 1 beyond 2022 after enjoying his comeback this season, it may leave Alpine looking for alternatives to find a seat for Piastri . While Budkowski acknowledged it was a “good question” what would happen to Piastri if Alonso continued beyond 2022, he said it was “not about a direct comparison” between the two drivers.

It appears Oscar Piastri will be Australia’ s next Formula One driver, but he may have to wait a little longer than expected to get his shot at the big time. Since 2005, only three Formula 2 winners have not gone on to drive in F 1 . But the numbers are not falling in Piastri ’ s favour, with only one F 1 seat still realistically up for grabs next season. Oscar Piastri could be racing in F 1 in the next year or two. Valtteri Bottas will move to replace the retiring Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo and George Russell will take Bottas’ seat at Mercedes, allowing former Red Bull driver Alex Albon to fill Russell’ s vacant spot

“You can use that to sort of further develop, mainly my own F1 tests. Also just seeing the way that Fernando and Esteban go about trying to improve themselves and the car, especially, that was definitely something I can take.

“For me, being able to see Fernando – a two-time World Champion, it’s probably a good idea that I follow his lead a little bit.”

Piastri had been in the running to partner Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo next season, but the team ultimately chose F2 title rival Guanyu Zhou for the role instead.

But getting to be involved in a team including two race winners will be plenty of motivation for Piastri to absorb information as he prepares for what he hopes will be a fruitful Formula 1 career – especially by following the example of a driver with the “wisdom” of Alonso.

“We all know how how great of a driver Fernando is and how successful he has been in the past. Even Esteban [Ocon], you know, he’s obviously not as experienced as Fernando, but he’s got a race win under his belt now and he’s certainly taking the fight to Fernando.

“So I think I can learn from both of them. Obviously, Fernando has got, I guess, more wisdom if you want to call it that. So hopefully sort of takes me on as a bit of a mentorship role. But yeah, we’ll see.”

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