Junior driver Callum Ilott said that F2 champion Oscar Piastri not getting an F1 seat would be “an injustice” to youngsters trying to make it.
Ilott finished runner-up to Mick Schumacher in the 2022 F2 season. However, he failed to make it to F1 despite having tests with Ferrari, Haas and Alfa Romeo. His Australian counterpart in Piastri, however, was champion and became Alpine reserve driver for 2022.
Piastri finished 2021 with three championships in three years, taking the hat-trick of F3 and Formula Renault before F2. However, even he could not break into the F1 grid, and will spend 2022 as a reserve driver.
As a result, Ilott said that Piastri not getting an F1 seat next season would be “an injustice” to the young talent waiting in the wings for his opportunity.
“From stories in the past, I believe similar things have happened in the sense of young guys didn’t make it and you always believe that’s not going to happen to you, and at the end of the day life is like that,” he said, as quoted by Motorsportweek.
“But with Oscar, it’s a bit different in the sense that there wasn’t availability for the support package that he had for this year, so I wasn’t surprised in that sense.
“What would be a surprise is if at the end of this year he didn’t have a seat for the following year because you can have a year off, as we’ve seen with many drivers, but if he doesn’t get one at the end of the year, I’d be very surprised.
“That would be an injustice to junior formula and the single seater ladder that we have.”
Difficult to break through
“There’s 20 seats, and most of them are filled by the guys who have proven (themselves) and earned that seat for a long time, and at the end of the day it’s expensive,” he conceded.
“It’s expensive for the teams. It’s expensive for the sponsors. You’ve got to fit into that package, and yeah, unfortunately it doesn’t always work.
“It’s an individual sport in the way it works, and unfortunately for the young guys. For me, it was a very lonely discovery process of that’s how the world works.”