Piastri took a convincing F2 title in 2021 as a rookie, his third straight title in three years after previously conquering FIA F3 and the Formula Renault Eurocup.

But despite being tipped as one of the hottest talents to come through the ranks in recent years, the 20-year-old Australian will spend the 2022 season without a race seat.

Instead, the Alpine academy graduate will act as the F1 squad’s official reserve driver, splitting duties between the simulator and travelling to the majority of the races.

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It draws parallels with Alpine race driver Esteban Ocon’s time as a reserve driver at Mercedes in 2019, before establishing himself at the Enstone outfit in 2020 and earning a three-year contract extension last season.

Piastri says he “wouldn’t 100% rule out” a one-off race appearance though “highly doubts” he’ll do a full season, but contends that 2022 won’t be a wasted year as he is set to absorb a huge amount of information by working with Ocon and double F1 world champion Fernando Alonso.

“I definitely don’t think it will be a wasted year,” Piastri replied when asked by Autosport how he will be approaching his 2022 programme.

“It goes without saying that I would have loved to have been on the grid, of course. But a lot of the things I can pick up next year, like the travelling schedule of an F1 season, having to adapt to that without the pressure of having to actually drive is quite beneficial, I guess.

“And listening to Fernando and Esteban also with a new car for next year, I can listen to how the car’s developing and with all my work in the sim I can try and contribute to that.

Piastri tested the 2021 Alpine following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last month

Piastri tested the 2021 Alpine following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last month

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Piastri, who is set the test the 2021 Alpine car at various points across this season to assist his preparations, acknowledged he doesn’t have to be in the car to become a more rounded driver and learn to work with engineers at a Formula 1 level of detail.

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“There’s a lot of other things outside of driving that make a successful F1 driver,” he explained. 

“Next year one of the main parts of my role next year is to learn as much as I can off Fernando and Esteban. Just listening to the way they go about things, the way they make suggestions to the engineers; the amount of capacity they have left to think about ideas and what to change on the car outside of just driving is impressive.

“And I think that’s the kind of stuff that I can take forward. That I don’t need to be physically driving for. That’s definitely going to be an important part in the next year.”

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