Oscar Piastri seals 8th in Formula Renault Eurocup Championship

October 22, 2018

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0

It may not have been the end to the season Oscar was hoping for but three podiums and twelve top ten finishes helped the Australian to finish 8th in the championship at the weekend. Racing at the Catalunya circuit Oscar fought hard for more points finishes and 7th in the championship but would just miss out and would have to settle for 8th place. An impressive performance in his rookie season which saw Oscar visit nine new tracks on the ten-round calendar.

The Formula Renault Eurocup championship is one of the most competitive in Europe. It visits some of the most prestigious circuits including Monza, Silverstone, Spa, Budapest, Nurburgring, Hockenheim and even the streets of Monte Carlo! Graduating from the British F4 Championship was only going to be a natural step for Oscar but his biggest challenge would present itself in preparation.

The championship only allows for six days of testing before the season begins at Paul Ricard, but Oscar showed no signs of inexperience at the opening round where he finished 6th and 5th in a hugely impressive weekend! Monza wouldn’t provide the same fortunes but on his return to Silverstone, albeit on the GP layout, Oscar would pick up his best result of the season with 4th place.

Then came Oscar’s best experience of his racing career as he took to the streets of Monaco to support the Formula One Grand Prix. Difficult qualifying sessions didn’t lead to the best results but it was always about the experience and there’s no doubt when he next returns, in whatever car, he’ll be much further up the grid. The Red Bull Ring, Spa and Budapest would see Oscar go on his best run of the season as he took six consecutive top ten finishes which would also see him pick up his first ever podium in the championship at Spa!

The Nurburgring provided rotten luck for the Australian but his pace would see him still emerge with some points as he began to move up the standings. From one German circuit to another and Oscar’s best weekend in the championship would fall at the penultimate round, Hockenheim. Incredible pace would see the Arden Motorsport driver challenge for the win on both days taking a 3rd and 2nd place to move into the fight for 6th in the championship.

However, the final round of the season would prove to be one of Oscar’s toughest as the championship headed to the very tough Catalunya circuit in Spain. Race one looked to be going well with Oscar qualifying in 8th place and he was quickly up to 7th by turn one. As the drivers completed lap two Oscar challenged for 6th on Thomas Maxwell but he unfortunately misjudged the move and made contact with his countrymen which saw Maxwell off into the gravel and Piastri dropping down to 14th. It was a disastrous start and after a lengthy safety car period Oscar had just 15 minutes to make amends.

Over the second half of the race Oscar made fantastic progress to climb back up to 11th on a track that is often difficult to overtake on and going onto the final lap was in a position to challenge for 10th and a points scoring finish. Fighting with Raul Guzman, turn one would be where things would unfortunately go wrong for a second time. As Guzman defended Oscar took a wide line through the right hander and repeated that process through the left hander to give him the switch back on Guzman, but the Mexican had other ideas and cut across Oscar who was at full speed and had nowhere to go but straight into the back of him taking the pair off.

It had become a race to forget which would see Oscar retire from a race for just the second time this season and it had left his challenge for 6th in the championship in tatters.

For race two Oscar would start 12th on the grid as he looked to end his season on a positive note. Chances of a points finish took a huge hit on the opening lap as Oscar dropped to 14th place. On a track that is particularly difficult to overtake on in the last race of the season, a 10th place finish now seemed like a very tall order.

However, he kept pushing and slowly climbed his way back up to 12th before getting into 11th in the dying stages of the race. It may not have been a points finish, but it was certainly a much more positive way to end the season. The result secured 8th in the championship for Oscar in what has been a season of mostly ups but one or two downs too.

Overall Oscar has been thoroughly impressive this season and can hold his head up high. There’s no doubt he has a bright future ahead and his 2019 plans should be announced in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!