Oscar Piastri says winning the FIA Formula 2 Championship is a two-year project, as he prepares for his rookie campaign in the series in 2021.
The Australian claimed the Formula 3 title with Prema last year and has progressed to F2 with the Italian team, lining up alongside Ferrari junior driver Robert Shwartzman.
Piastri, who is part of the Alpine F1 junior programme, is targeting F2 race victories from the outset, but is not casting his mind to championship success straight away.
“I don’t really have any specific things that I really want to do, obviously I’ve got a very good benchmark in Robert,” Piastri said.
“I’m sure if I’m challenging him, I’ll be at the pointy end. It’s a big learning curve, I’ve never done a pit stop before, new format for everyone, which sort of works a bit in my favour.
“I think I can definitely challenge for race wins, the championship we’ll have to wait and see, I said the same in F3 and that turned out alright. I’m not really putting too much pressure on myself to achieve anything extraordinary in my first year.
“I think it’s a very important year, I have the momentum with me off the back of two championships, so if I can add a third in a row that’ll put me in good stead.”
Piastri highlighted that he entered F3 with a two-year plan of achieving title success, before winning the series in his rookie campaign.
“The grid this year is extremely competitive and the step to F2 is no easy task,” Piastri said. “The plan is sort of two years, if I can get it done this year and make the step up to F1 of course that’s even better.
“The plan for F3 was two years and that worked out better than planned. But next year could be the important year.”
With career progression after F2 being a step up to Formula 1, Piastri says the prospect of joining the F1 grid adds extra pressure to perform well.
After driving an F1 car for the first time last year in Bahrain with Renault, the 19-year-old admits he knows he’s not yet ready for the jump to F1.
“I think obviously the only step up from F2 is F1 so knowing that’s sorting of what you’re fighting for now brings a bit of pressure but a lot of excitement,” he said.
“It’s something I’ve been dreaming of and working towards, especially in the last five years since I’ve been in Europe.
“I’ve experienced an F1 car now, the test in Bahrain was positive, there were obviously a fair few areas to improve on but as a first test it was strong and the feedback I had was positive.
“I don’t think I would be ready tomorrow – if asked I’d say yes! – but I have learning to do, and F2 is on the ladder to F1 for a reason, and there’s still a lot of learning to do.”