Santa arrived early for Oscar Piastri.
The big fella arrived with his dream drive for Formula 2 next year, continuing with the Italian PREMA Racing team that took him to his stunning victory in this year’s FIA F3 championship.
He is already preparing for his first F2 test at Bahrain, where the series will also begin in 2021.
Piastri had his pick of the crack F2 teams and his decision to continue with Prema is a smart one. Most young drivers arrive and learn with a team in their first season, then attack for a championship in the second.
So the 19-year-old is one year ahead of the curve, so an extension with Prema will give him a solid foundation for the next two-year effort in F2.
He is also sliding into a team where Mick Schumacher is on track for this year’s F2 title and his team mate Robert Schwartzman has scored four wins.
“Prema has proven to be the team to beat once again in F2 this year, so I’m extremely happy to be moving into the championship with them,” said Piastri.
“We had a very successful 2020 season, winning the Formula 3 championship together, and I’m hoping for another successful year with them. I’m very grateful to stay a part of the Prema family, and I’m looking forward to plenty more pizza and pasta.”
The new deal, which has likely been brokered by his mentor Mark Webber with funding from the Renault Sport Academy is likely to mean that his parents in Melbourne will be free of the huge financial investment needed to keep a young driver moving towards Formula 1.
He has recently completed a successful F1 test with Renault, not just a handful of laps as a ’thank-you’ for his F3 success but a full day of genuine lapping and learning, building up to race runs and a full-scale qualifying effort.
Rene Tosin, team principal at Prema, said he is happy to continue with Piastri.
“Not only he is a talented racer with outstanding speed skills. He has a clear understanding of the complexities of today’s motorsports and he is extremely adaptable,” he said.
Having witnessed his progress and success throughout the 2020 season, taking our relationship to the next step for the 2021 FIA Formula 2 Championship felt like the natural thing to do and we look forward to having him on-track right from Bahrain”