Callum Ilott believes it would be “an injustice to junior formula” if Oscar Piastri is not able to secure a Formula 1 seat in time for the 2023 season.
Ilott, who finished runner-up to Mick Schumacher in the 2020 Formula 2 season, was not able to step up to the Formula 1 grid, though had test runs with Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Haas.
For 2022 he will compete full-time in IndyCar for Juncos Hollinger Racing.
While Ilott missed out on titles as he climbed the single-seater latter, Piastri finished 2021 with three championships in as many years, adding the Formula 2 crown to a resume that included titles in Formula 3 and Formula Renault.
But the Alpine junior did not secure a 2022 Formula 1 seat and will instead spend the year in the role as reserve driver for the Formula 1 team.
“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,” said Ilott.
“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.”
Ilott conceded that he underwent a “very lonely discovery process” during his single-seater journey as he fought to climb the ladder.
“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 reflected.
“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.
“IndyCar is a new start for me and a great opportunity, so yeah, that’s the way I want to look at it, and I think to be fair for me, I will have hopefully a very good career out here.”