28/11/2019

Eurocup title sets Piastri on course for F1 licence

Oscar Piastri has been crowned Champion in the Formula Renault Eurocup’s first season using its all-new 1.8 single-seater car.
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The car, constructed by long-time Renault Sport ally Tatuus in Italy, heralded a new chapter for FRenault in Europe this year.

The category has for over three decades had an enviable reputation for producing future stars with the likes of current F1 names Llando Norris, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Valtteri Bottas, Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon among those to have graduated from its ranks.

Others to have competed in FRenault Eurocup include 2019 FUA Formula E and World Rallycross Champions Jean-Eric Vergne and Timmy Hansen…

Australian Piastri, driving for R-ace GP, had been locked in a season-long duel with MP Motorsport’s French ace Victor Martins.

Their battle came down to the final rounds at the Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit in Abu Dhabi at the end of October and it was Piastri who came out on top.

Martins managed to grab pole position by just two thousandths of a second from Piastra for the first of two races.

However Piastri got ahead soon after the start and stayed there to record his seventh win of 2019.

Notably the race was the first in FRenault Eurocup history to be held at night time as Yas Marina’s floodlights – used by F1 – lit up the track under the dark skies.

Martins took second position to keep the pressure on heading into the very last round but the points deficit to Piastri – 20.5 with only a maximum of 25 now available – meant it was a tall order.

Indeed, in spite of then comfortably winning the final round for his sixth win in 2019, it was not enough for Martins as a fourth place finish for Piastri was more than enough for him to secure the crown.

CLICK HERE for a 60-second round-up of the action.

Winning the FRenault Eurocup title also gives Piastri 18 points towards his ambition of earning an FIA ‘Superlicence’ which would qualify him for competition in F1 – 40 are required to race and 25 to participate in practice sessions.

Piastri said: “I think it will take some time to completely sink in. I didn’t have a good race, but today wasn’t what was important.

“It was extremely competitive all season long and the 7.5-point gap means little in the end. R-ace GP and MP Motorsport were the two teams to beat this season, which made life easier for me to move up the order when we were struggling.

“Victor and I had rather similar campaigns. I was a bit faster in the middle of the year while Victor finished strong. I think that we were the two that got the most out of the new Formula Renault. However, we were able to capitalize when we were on form and limit the damage when there were difficulties or when we made mistakes.

“My target is to move on to the FIA Formula 3 Championship, but nothing is done as yet as I need to look at my different options.”