The Alpine junior driver has won consecutive championship titles as a rookie in Formula Renault and Formula 3, and in his rookie F2 campaign with Prema heads the standings by five points after the first of this weekend’s three races at Monza.
Piastri has only won one race so far, the second Bahrain sprint, but has been a model of consistency and scored points in all but two races this season.
However, the Australian could miss out on a move to F1, with significant competition for the final vacant seat at the affiliated Alfa Romeo team that has signed Valtteri Bottas to replace the retiring Kimi Raikkonen.
Alfa team boss Frederic Vasseur told Autosport in July that the Swiss-based team will have free choice of its drivers next year, and Piastri’s F2 rival Theo Pourchaire is supported by the Sauber outfit that runs the Alfa Romeo squad.
Piastri, who qualified on pole for this weekend’s Monza feature race, says his ties with Alpine would make such an Alfa Romeo move unconventional, but “still wants to make a statement on track” to impress team bosses.
Asked about his chances of securing the seat and plans for next season, he said: “I really don’t know, is the honest answer. There’s one spot left, there’s a hell of a lot of people trying to get it.
“Obviously I’m with Alpine, there’s no engine link there, so it’s not the most conventional route of getting there.
“I’ll be honest, the chances are very slim, but for my own sake I don’t want to give up hope yet. I still want to make a statement on track.
“It’s been a tough few weeks to be honest, watching all those seats fill up, but there’s still that one left and Alfa have all the time in the world to decide who they put in. So who knows? I have no idea.”
Oscar Piastri, Prema Racing, Juri Vips, Hitech Grand Prix
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Piastri added that he doesn’t “really have anything to lose” and that the slim prospects of joining Alfa didn’t add any additional pressure to his shoulders with three F2 rounds at Sochi, Jeddah and Yas Marina still to go.
“I’ve won two championships in a row and leading a third, but we’re still only halfway through this F2 year so a lot could change,” he said.
“All the F1 moves are happening now or have already happened so it’s a bit disappointing, the way it’s played out, because I really don’t know what more I could have done and today [securing pole] was quite nice to make a statement and I’m still here.
“I think it probably is just a case of bad timing but I still want to try and win this championship, obviously.
“I’ve had a few suggestions of purposefully not winning it to do another year, but that’s just silly.
“I want to win the championship and I think if I do win the championship, I’d be pretty annoyed if something at some point in the future didn’t arise from that.”
Fellow Alpine Academy member Guanyu Zhou, who sits second in the standings, says he hasn’t made a final decision on his future.
But the Chinese driver, who is contesting his third season in F2, anticipates “this will be my last season in F2”.
Guanyu Zhou, UNI-Virtuosi
Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd
“For myself, I haven’t really got a final decision on my future, but like I said at the beginning of the year, I think more or less this will be my last season in F2,” he said.
“It depends what the future brings, there’s still a question mark.
“I’m mainly focused on this championship and trying to not make the mistakes which could afford me to lose the championship, so my main target for now is the championship, but obviously I think later we will know who has the opportunity for the seat.
“Obviously there’s so many drivers fighting for it.”