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Aussie teen driver wins F3 world champs

Nic Savage, September 14, 2020 6:30PM news.com.au

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Oscar Piastri of Australia and Prema Racing drives during practice ahead of the Formula 3 Championship at Mugello Circuit on September 11, 2020 in Scarperia, Italy. Picture: Getty Images media_cameraOscar Piastri of Australia and Prema Racing drives during practice ahead of the Formula 3 Championship at Mugello Circuit on September 11, 2020 in Scarperia, Italy. Picture: Getty Images

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Australian teenage racing driver Oscar Piastri is the Formula 3 world champion after a thrilling end to the season in Italy.

Piastri, from Melbourne, drives for Prema Racing, and finished on top of the 18-race, 2020 FIA Formula 3 championship season.

In motorsport racing, Formula 3 is a rung* below Formula 2, the feeder series for Formula 1.

Piastri finished the season just three points ahead of French rival Theo Pourchaire and four points ahead of teammate Logan Sargeant, who claimed second and third respectively*.

During race two at Mugello, near Florence in Italy, the 19-year-old crossed the line in seventh after narrowly crossing ahead of Venezuela’s Sebastian Fernandez.

Formula 3 Championship - Round 9:Mugello - Practice & Qualifying media_cameraOscar Piastri drives during qualifying for the Formula 3 Championship at Mugello Circuit on September 11, 2020 in Scarperia, Italy. Picture: Getty Images

Sargeant had a slim* chance of winning the F3 championship heading into the final race, but crashed in the opening lap after making contact with Germany’s Lirim Zendeli.

New Zealand driver Liam Lawson won Sunday’s 21-lap reverse-grid race in Italy, but all the attention was on the Aussie teenager.

Piastri’s title was in doubt when a DRS system saw him finish 11th in race one at Mugello, but clinching* seventh on Sunday was enough to top the standings.

After the race, Piastri conceded*: “I am exhausted, it was tough, the last few weeks have tested me emotionally. I have been consistent throughout the year and keeping my head cool has been the biggest thing for me.’’

Piastri also expressed remorse for his unlucky teammate: “I feel so bad for Logan, so sorry for Logan.”

During the 2020 season, Piastri secured two wins — at races in Speilberg, Austria and Barcelona, Spain — along with six podium* finishes and four fastest laps.

It was a very competitive championship, with nine different race winners throughout the season, none achieving the feat more than twice.

media_cameraAustralian F1 legend Mark Webber and Oscar Piastri when Oscar was 18. Mark Webber and wife Ann Webber manage and mentor Oscar in his quest to reach Formula 1.

Piastri has tasted* success on the track before — in 2019 he won the Formula Renault Eurocup event, winning seven of the 19 races.

Piastri has cemented himself as a future star of motorsport, and will almost certainly make his debut appearance in Formula 2 in the coming years.

“I started racing remote control cars when I was about six, so long before any actual kind of motorsport,” Piastri told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Both my pop and grandad are mechanics and they have always followed motorsport, and my dad’s business was a car tuning company, so he has always been massively into it. It was just unfortunate when he was much younger he didn’t have the funding to do anything serious in motorsport.

“I am the first one in the family to do some racing myself, but the passion has been in the family for quite a long time.”

go kart champion media_cameraOscar Piastri at age 13, when he was a karting champion.

F1, F2, F3 EXPLAINED
Formula 1, or F1, is car racing on a track between single-seat, open cockpit, open-wheel racing cars made of carbon-fibre in which the engine is behind the driver and the car has big front and rear wings. They are built for Formula 1 racing, rather than for regular driving. Each team custom-builds their own chassis*, for a driver with a better car has an advantage.

In both Formula 2 and Formula 3 racing, all teams use the same car chassis, engine and tyres, so the racing is more about the skill of the driver than also about having a better-performing car.

Formula 2 cars have wider noses than F3 cars.

Under a global program by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), drivers begin their careers karting in their own countries, before progressing through Formula 4 (which is for juniors) then Formula 3, then Formula 2.

The very best make it to Formula 1. As of the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, there have only been 775 Formula 1 drivers (from 39 countries) who have raced in FIA World Championship races since the first, the 1950 British Grand Prix.

Piastri: Our next F1 star?

GLOSSARY

  • rung: step on a ladder or in a process
  • respectively: separately or individually and in the order of the already mentioned things
  • slim: small
  • clinching: confirm or settle
  • conceded: admitted
  • podium: place where first, second and third in a competition stand to get their medal
  • tasted: experienced
  • chassis: base frame of a car

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. Where was the last race of the season?
  2. What class of car does Oscar drive?
  3. Where is Oscar from?
  4. What other types of things has he raced?
  5. In which year was the first FIA F1 World Championship race?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Find the Facts
Read through the article carefully to find out some facts about Formula 1, 2 and 3 car racing.

Draw a 3-column chart with the following titles. FORMULA 1, FORMULA 2 and FORMULA 3.

Under each write information you can find in the article about each. Make sure you include the differences between each level of racing as well as other facts you may find. There should be more facts about Formula 3 racing than the other levels, including where/when some events were held, names of some of the drivers, etc.

When you have found all the facts you can in the article, you may like to include other information that you already know or you can research some further facts about Formula car racing. Write these in a different colour.

When you have finished write 3 questions you still have about Formula car racing.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
Imagine you have the job of announcing the winner of the 2020 Formula 3 World Championship. Write a short speech to announce those who came 3rd, then 2nd, and finally the winner of the series. In your speech include details from the season or about the particular driver’s achievements to personalise the announcement. For example:

“Third in the Formula 3 2020 World series is a man who had a very real chance of winning. It wasn’t to be in 2020 but third is a remarkable achievement and we look forward to seeing you back in 2021. Congratulations …”

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY
Down-Level It
When you up-level a sentence, you do things to it to improve it: make it more interesting, or more complex.

But sometimes, when we read something it can be too complex and we don’t understand it very well. You ask someone to explain it to you, they do (in a simpler way) and you think, well why didn’t they just say that?

Go through the article and find a sentence or two that is complex, or hard to read.

Ask an adult what it means, or try and look some of the words up in the glossary.

Once you know what it means, see if you can rewrite it in a simpler way- down-level it.

Make sure you don’t change the meaning of the sentence in any way though.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What sort of world champion would you like to be?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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