“We all know how how great of a driver Fernando is and how successful he has been in the past. Even Esteban, 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.
“From my side of things, I’m looking forward to firstly seeing how both of them develop the new car, because so it’s a very different set of rules for next year and take it from there.”
Along with his reserve role duties, Piastri says he has spoken to Alpine about the possibility of running several Free Practice 1 sessions next season.
Formula 1 is currently in discussions to add a rule requiring teams to run young drivers at several races next year. The opportunity has already been discussed at Alpine with Piastri who says he has been given the green light despite no formal announcement from F1 confirming the rule changes just yet.
“Besides the young driver FP1s, I’m not sure. I don’t know if those young driver FP1s have already been announced or not but from what I know they’re happening. So I’ll be in the car for those but any others outside of those I’m not sure yet. I don’t have anything confirmed other than those.”
For now, attention will be squarely focused on sealing the F2 championship. Two rounds and six races remain of the 2021 season and Piastri has ex-Alpine junior Guanyu Zhou for company at the top despite his cushion in points.
Though he is the favourite, the weight of expectation doesn’t appear to be coming close to having any sort of effect on the 20-year-old.
The championship leader says that with his future sorted, there’s no pressure anymore to seal his second consecutive single-seater title. A healthy 36-point gap to next best Zhou, Piastri says the onus is on his rivals rather than himself to score big.
“The goal is to win the championship obviously, but there’s not really any pressure anymore. My plans for next year are sorted. Of course, it looks better on my CV if I have another championship to add to it, but going for the championship is much more about pride now and just my natural competitiveness and wanting to win.
“I feel like I’ve done enough to prove myself throughout the season. We’ve already sorted next year’s plans with Alpine and I think Alpine agrees. So yeah, the goal is to win the championship, if we can pick up some fastest laps, some poles and some race wins then that’s an added bonus.”
“My contract for reserve driver officially starts next year, January 1, if you want to be specific, but I guess from that [post-Abu Dhabi] Monday onwards, I won’t be with PREMA anymore. So whilst I guess I won’t be officially working with Alpine just yet, that’ll be what I’m focusing on.”
Should he seal the title in Saudi Arabia or Abu Dhabi, Piastri will be locked out of racing in Formula 2 next season as per the championship’s rules.
Though it would mean a year on the sidelines without any alternatives lined up, he believes that any changes to prevent talent from being able to race is not the right way to go.
“I think the rule is a bit of a double-edged sword, it can both work well and not so well.
“The main aim of the rule is for the F1 teams to take the champion from F2 and it kind of stops people from just constantly racing F2 even if they’re winning.
“So in that aspect, I don’t really think that should change because it sort of gives F1 teams a bit more of an excuse to leave them in F2. But then at the same time, the way my situation has panned out, I guess, it also can leave you without a drive full stop. So I don’t think getting rid of that rule is the way to go. I don’t really know what the way to go is to be honest, but I think getting rid of that rule would generally cause probably more problems than what it would solve.”