The Formula 1 drivers’ market has been in full swing in the leadup to Formula 2’s return to action at Monza, but Championship leader Oscar Piastri has insisted that seat availability – or lack off – plays no bearing in his determination to win the title.
Despite an F1 promotion looking unlikely for 2022, the PREMA racer is currently on course to win his third title in as many seasons, leading Guanyu Zhou in the standings by five points, but he said that any F1 talks were “completely separate.”
“I am still going out to win every weekend in F2 and whatever happens outside of that, in terms of F1 talks, is completely separate,” said Piastri. “Never say never, but it is looking pretty slim - that doesn't change anything about me wanting to win F2, though.
“If anything, it probably gives me a little bit more determination, not that I would say I was lacking in that area to begin with. If I could get that third championship in a row, that would mean quite a lot to me, so I will be pushing for that.
“I have to ensure that determination doesn’t become too much. I’ve had a very relaxed approach to the first half of the season, and I think that in general, that's how I work best.”
Scoring five podiums, including victory in the second Sprint Race in Sakhir, Piastri has been arguably the most consistent driver on the grid so far this season, finishing outside of the top 10 just twice.
And with his main title rival, Zhou, enduring a run of four pointless races in a row between Baku and Silverstone, Piastri was able to leapfrog his fellow Alpine junior in the standings in Great Britain, taking pole and three top-six finishes, including third in the Feature Race.
“I think that Silverstone was kind of the climax to our first half of the year, taking pole position and getting the lead of the Championship,” continued Piastri. “I think that we probably could have been a bit better on the Sunday in Silverstone and potentially won the Feature Race, but I am certainly happy with another Feature Race podium.
“In the second half of the season, I will be trying to keep everything pretty much the same as it was in the first half. Clearly, it has been working pretty well, so I don't think there's any reason to change how we’ve gone about things.
“We’ll be focusing on each race as it comes and each weekend as a whole, because with this new format, you have to kind of plan your weekend in advance a bit.”
Arriving in Monza on the back of a two-month break from racing, Piastri doesn’t feel that the hiatus will play a role in the results.
“We have all been racing for long enough to not be rusty,” said Piastri. “The first few laps might feel a bit strange, but once we get back into the swing of things after about five minutes of practice, we should be ready again, and I don't think the nature of Monza will affect that too much."