Alpine have announced that PREMA Racing’s Oscar Piastri will graduate from their Academy to be their official Formula 1 Reserve Driver from 2022.

The 20-year-old is the current Championship leader, sitting first with 178 points, 36 ahead of fellow Alpine academy member, Guanyu Zhou.

Stepping up to Formula 2 with PREMA on the back of winning the Formula 3 title in his rookie season, Piastri has been in sensational form, winning three times and taking seven podiums in total, while missing out on the points just three times. He’s currently on a run of three poles in a row, with two rounds of the season to go, in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi.

As it stands, Piastri is on course to emulate Charles Leclerc and George Russell by winning the title at the first time of asking.

If the Australian did clinch the crown, it would be his third title in a row, having also won Formula Renault Eurocup in 2019, before taking the F3 title in 2020.

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Piastri L with Academy Director Mia Sharizman R
Piastri (L) with Academy Director Mia Sharizman (R)

Discussing the promotion, Piastri said that he is eying a race seat with the team in 2023 and is excited to be more involved with the team next season.

“I’m super excited to be joining Alpine F1 Team as Reserve Driver,” said Piastri. “I’m looking forward to being much more involved with the team and contributing to its intended success next season. The Reserve Driver role is the next step towards my aim for a race seat in 2023, which is very exciting.

“I’ve proved myself in the junior formulas over the last couple of years and feel like I’m ready for Formula 1 now along with the trackside experience at race weekends, we will put together a substantial test programme in order to keep developing myself to grow even more prepared for a race seat. I’m very thankful to Alpine for their support.

“We’ve enjoyed two very successful seasons together in the Academy and I’m grateful for the faith they’ve put in me for this next step with an eye on a bigger future. My focus now is finishing the Formula 2 Championship in the best possible way with Prema and I’m looking forward to being back in the car and pushing hard on track.”

Piastri won the 2020 F3 Championship with PREMA, taking two wins and six podiums. He’d spent the previous season in Formula Renault Eurocup, where he finished first with seven wins, 11 podiums and five poles.

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Piastri has three wins so far this season
Piastri has three wins so far this season

Piastri will work closely with the team’s 2022 drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso and Alpine Chief Executive Laurent Ross believes that the Australian will shine in his new role.

Rossi said: “Oscar’s natural talent is clear to see, so we’re very proud and privileged to have him as part of our team as our Reserve Driver from next year.

“Not only does Oscar have the on-track skills, as demonstrated over the last couple of years in the junior categories, but also the maturity and composure that makes him really stand out from the rest. At Enstone, he has been a real asset to the team as he has aided the simulator and testing programme and I am certain he will continue to do so in his new role.

“The next step will be to consistently attend Grands Prix to fully integrate with the race team, learn what is expected of an F1 driver and be ready for when the opportunity comes. In addition, we look forward to having Oscar’s input and expertise in driving the team forwards next year.

“Oscar’s graduation highlights the success of our Alpine Academy and underlines its strength as one of the best young driver programmes in motorsport. We look forward to seeing our young talents continue to blossom through the years to come.”