New FIA Formula 3 champion Oscar Piastri has praised the work of Mark Webber since the former Formula 1 star became his manager at the start of this year.
World Endurance champion and nine-time F1 race-winner Webber signed Piastri to JAM Sports Management, which he runs with his wife Ann and Australian business expert Jason Allen, at the start of March.
In previous years Webber has supported other Antipodean talent, including 2012 GP3 champion and Formula E star Mitch Evans. His focus will switch soon to planning Piastri’s 2021 programme, which will potentially include the support of the rebranded Alpine F1 team.
“Mark’s been great. Obviously he came in as my manager at the beginning of this year. So he’s been really good behind the scenes,” said Piastri after claiming the FIA F3 title at Mugello.
“Obviously I haven’t really been able to speak with him in person this year and to be honest I was a little bit surprised he was at the podium but he’s been great.
“We talk to each other on the phone nearly every day at a race meeting so his support is really invaluable to me and his most important work is going to be coming in the next few weeks deciding what’s for next year so it’s great to have his support.”
The plan for Piastri in 2021 is to step up to Formula 2, possibly with Prema after racing for the team in F3 this year.
“I don’t know if I’d say priority [to stay with Prema], but obviously they’re having a strong year in F2, I’m pretty sure they’re leading the teams’ championship. Obviously I’d love to go back to Prema and stay there for next year, but I have no idea where I’m going to end up next year so far.
All of the champions in FIA F3 and its predecessor GP3 that went on to race in F2 and its predecessor GP2 won races in their rookie season besides Evans, and Charles Leclerc and George Russell both won the F2 title as rookies.
“F2 is ideally where I’d like to go, and obviously I’d like to do a good job,” Piastri said to Formula Scout. “But no pressure from the previous guys [who won the GP3/F3 title] that have done a good job, I think I have proved in the last couple of years that I am up here for a reason. So I think I can definitely do a good job in F2 if that’s where I end up next year.”