Daniel Ricciardo sees a lot of promise for his native Australia after strong seasons in the junior categories for Oscar Piastri and Jack Doohan.
Since Mark Webber retired from Formula 1 in 2013, Ricciardo has been the only driver on the Formula 1 grid representing Australia, currently driving for Mclaren.
But now the country has a bright pair of prospects, well on the way to joining it.
Closest to that breakthrough is Oscar Piastri, who after winning the 2021 Formula 2 title by a margin of 60.5 points, will now spend the 2021 season as an Alpine reserve driver, part of their Academy.
Doohan meanwhile impressed in F2 and the category below, finishing second in the Formula 3 Championship for Red bull-supported Dennis Hauger.
Doohan went on to enter the final six races of the Formula 2 season, adapting in a flash to register a better P5 place in the second sprint race in Saudi Arabia, also only his second appearance in F2.
He would finish P8 in the Sprint 2 race in the final round in Abu Dhabi, meaning the 18-year-old finished the F2 season with seven points.
Naturally, Ricciardo can sense a bright future for Australia in Formula 1.
Oscar Piastri # F2 The poles
What an exceptional pilot Piastri is. Five poles in a row, only Charles Leclerc had done more.
Hats off to Jack Doohan too, he will certainly be a threat for the championship next season ðŸ‘€ #AbouDhabiGP
– Hannah Prydderch (@HannahPrydderch) December 10, 2021
“There is a first row of Australians on the grid with Piastri and Jack so that looks good for Australia’s promise,” Ricciardo said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“I am very happy to see this.”
By winning the F2 crown, Piastri follows in the footsteps of current F1 stars George Russell and Charles Leclerc by winning the F3 and F2 titles back to back.
But not only won, Piastri dominated the final season of F2, which Ricciardo admitted he did not see coming.
When asked if he was impressed with Piastri’s dominance in F2, Ricciardo replied: â€œYes, wild. I think nobody expected it, fighting for a title is one thing, but winning comfortably was amazing.
“I think people knew he was talented, I knew that, but I don’t think anyone expected him to dominate the way he did.”
There was no opening on the Formula 1 2022 grid for Piastri, with the last available seat at Alfa Romeo going to Guanyu Zhou, who was also part of the Alpine Academy last year, and finished P3 in the 2021 F2 ranking.
Piastri’s objective is therefore firmly to secure a record for 2023.