Piastri’s Formula Two elevation confirmed


Rising star Oscar Piastri’s elevation to Formula Two has been confirmed with the teenager re-signing with Italian outfit PREMA Racing.

The 19-year-old Melbourne product, who won this year’s Formula Three championship in his debut season, will move up next year to be just one step away from becoming Australia’s latest Formula One driver.

Piastri will prepare for his next step by taking part in a post-season test with PREMA at the Bahrain International Circuit next week.

Before then, Piastri will be in attendance as current PREMA driver Mick Schumacher – son of legendary German driver Michael – attempts to wrap up this year’s Formula Two title for the team.

Schumacher is widely expected to move to F1 next year with Haas, in effect making Piastri his replacement in PREMA’s F2 team in 2021.

“PREMA has proven to be the team to beat once again in F2 this year, so I’m extremely happy to be moving into the championship with them,” Piastri said.

Next week’s test will be extra vital for Piastri with the opening round of the 2021 F2 championship to be held in Bahrain.

PREMA team principal Rene Rosin said elevating the Australian to F2 was an obvious choice after his impressive F3 campaign.

“Not only he is a talented racer with outstanding speed skills, he has a clear understanding of the complexities of today’s motor sports and he is extremely adaptable,” Rosin said.

“Having witnessed his progress and success throughout the 2020 season, taking our relationship to the next step for the 2021 FIA Formula 2 Championship felt like the natural thing to do.”





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NSW Blues halfback Nathan Cleary says elevation to vice-captaincy will inspire him to find voice on field against Queensland Maroons


Cleary said he was “a little bit” surprised when Fittler named him in the role, but stressed it would motivate him to be the on-field general the Blues need.

“I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I’m the halfback as well so it gave me confidence, that extra incentive to find my voice and be the leader on the field,” Cleary said.

Nathan Cleary said he has been inspired by taking on the vice-captaincy role.Credit:Getty

“To be honest I didn’t [do that] enough [in Adelaide], which is what found us in a few sticky situations. That’s on me. I guess it was just characteristics coming out in the biggest moment. I just need to take ownership of that.

“I’m surrounded by great players here, but they do need direction and that’s what I have to do as halfback of this team.

“I need to stand up and take ownership of what I’m doing. I’ve been trying to do that through training this week; trying to improve and get better in every aspect I can.”

South Sydney five-eighth Cody Walker will start alongside Cleary in the halves against Queensland. Keary has dropped out of the 17.

I guess it was just characteristics coming out in the biggest moment. I just need to take ownership of that.

Nathan Cleary

Eighth Immortal Johns, who is not part of NSW’s biosecurity bubble for this year’s series, initially said he would axe Keary in his post-game commentary before a change of heart the next day.

Told of Johns’ comments, Cleary said he had been unaware of them.

“When it comes from Joey, it’s coming from the top,” Cleary said. “And I think Luke [Keary] said it the other day in an interview, it’s obviously coming from a good place. Trying to get NSW where they need to be.

“So it’s down to me now. I have to take ownership of this team, play the way we want to. I’ve just had positive messages throughout the week wishing me luck. So I’m only focused on what I can do in the future.

“There is no point dwelling on what happened in the past, what people are thinking or opinions.”

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The entire NSW squad has adopted a similar principle to the one Cleary has used to fuel his career-best form this year, writing down three things they are grateful for each day.

He’ll be even more grateful if he can steer his side into good field position to help his kicking game after being harassed by Queensland defenders on last-tackle plays in game one.

“It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-doubt and start kicking yourself,” Cleary said. “It’s human nature. Especially after that first game, everyone was down on themselves for losing and not playing the way we wanted.

“But if you concentrate on that you’re not going to get better, you’re going to be stuck in the past. So it’s about being grateful for the things you have.”

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