It’s the same for Piastri, who was pretty punchy after winning the F2 championship on Saturday.
“I hope it shows that I’m a pretty handy steerer – I hope – but if I haven’t proven that now I’ve quite literally run out of single-seater categories to prove that in,” he said.
“I’ve certainly done everything in my power to present my case for an F1 seat. I said earlier this year I thought results could barge my way into a seat somewhere, clearly that’s not worked out. Of course it’s a bit disappointing that I won’t be making the jump directly and I really, really hope I will be on the grid in 2023. I’d be pretty annoyed – for a PG version of my comments – if I wasn’t on the grid in 2023 because I’ve run out of things to prove myself with.
“Next year I’ve got a very good opportunity with Alpine to transition to the F1 world, obviously without the driving, but I’ll be attending all the flyaway races so experiencing the hectic calendar of the F1 world and a lot of work on the sim. So I won’t be spending that much time on my couch.
“It will be a busy year and it’s a fantastic opportunity that I’ve got. Of course it’s not quite the ultimate goal that I wanted for next year but I think throughout my racing career I’ve done quite well at controlling the things I can control, and that’s not something I can control. I’ll try my best for next year to prove to Alpine why I should be on the grid and hopefully it leads to a seat in 2023.”
By Tuesday evening, his tone had mellowed. Perhaps he was tired after over 100 laps in a 2021 car off the back of a championship-winning race weekend, but he was also focusing on the next stage of his career, and it’s an underwhelming one given what’s gone before.
After the FIA Prize Giving and a spell back in the UK, Piastri will head home to Melbourne next week to see friends and family he hasn’t seen for nearly a year. He should be spending that time excitedly talking about making it to the big time, rather than frustratedly bemoaning a system that has left him having to wait.
Does every F2 champion automatically need to be on the F1 grid? No, although it would be a nice concept. But if a driver can win absolutely everything they race in over the previous three years right up to F1 and then find the door is closed, the sport is doing the best junior talents a disservice.