World Endurance Champion Mark Webber will mentor Renault Sport Academy young gun and Formula 1 hopeful Oscar Piastri through his debut FIA Formula 3 season.
Piastri has signed a new deal with Jam Sports Management, led by Mark and Ann Webber and supported by Jason Allen.
The agreement comes on the eve of the 18-year-old’s testing debut in the FIA Formula 3 Championship with Prema Racing in Bahrain.
With help from Webber, Piastri joined the Renault Sport Academy earlier this year.
His signing puts him on the path to Formula 1 with the team that is currently led by fellow countryman Daniel Ricciardo.
The deal will see Piastri mentored by Webber with the ex-Formula 1 driver to manage the Melbourne-born driver’s team and manufacturer interests.
“Oscar is an impressive young man,” said Webber, who won the FIA World Endurance Championship with Porsche in 2015.
“I’ve enjoyed watching him continue his education and do the normal things kids his age do while dovetailing it with his racing – the level of self-discipline and dedication he has shown is admirable.
“What Oscar managed to do last year in Formula Renault was also pretty special, how he took control of the championship and closed the title out.
“He’s got that white line fever when he puts his helmet on and turns into a different character, which is sensational.
“Oscar is in a great position with Renault, they are investing in him, they believe he’s a horse worth backing and keeping a tight eye on, and that’s exciting for him and Australian motorsport,” he said.
“He’s trying to get to an extremely tough category in Formula 1, and he knows what’s ahead of him, but Renault and ourselves know Oscar is an incredibly confident young lad, and we think he can do great things.”
Piastri heads to the Formula 1 feeder series off the back of a strong 2019, which saw him win the Formula Renault Eurocup with R-ace GP.
Piastri claimed seven wins, 11 podium finishes and five pole positions to become the first driver out of Australia to win the title.
This year will race on the Formula 1 support card in a field of 30 other young hopefuls looking to break into the highest level of the sport.
“I’m excited to start working with Mark and Ann; I think everyone in Australia knows who Mark Webber is and he’s a pretty big name to have on my side,” Piastri said.
“Mark’s been through Formula 1, LMP1, and other categories through the years, so he has the experience that I’m sure if I have any issues, he will be able to steer me in the right direction or to the right people in the paddock.
“It doesn’t change how I go racing; my goals are still the same; it’s just that I’ve got outstanding people in my corner now.”
Piastri begins testing in the FIA Formula 3 Championship tonight (Australia time) at Bahrain International Circuit. The season gets underway at the same circuit on March 20-22.