15 months without racing. Transplantation of the womb. A car under development. As team captain, a young but already experienced superstar.
22 year old Oscar Piastri the starting points for the F1 rookie season could not have been more challenging. However, the Australian driver, who drives for the legendary McLaren team, has proven this season why he is being talked about as a future F1 world champion.
Lewis Hamilton The F1 debut in 2007 is considered the best ever for rookie drivers. Driving for McLaren, Hamilton drove sensationally in his opening season for the World Championship title, only missing out on it by a measly point in the end.
Piastri has finished on the podium twice, which is the most of any driver since Hamilton. In time trials, he has been second at best.
Piastri has also been able to enjoy a victory in the rookie season, albeit in the sprint format, which has been in use since 2021.
1. Max Verstappen 491
2. Sergio Perez 240
3. Lewis Hamilton 220
6. Lando Norris 169
9. Oscar Piastri 87
14. Valtteri Bottas 10
A three-time world champion dominating the F1 series Max Verstappen came to the series at the age of 17, accompanied by a lot of hype. In his rookie season, however, Verstappen did not reach the top three.
Of course, the entry seasons of F1 stars are not completely comparable due to the different equipment.
For Piastr, the essential thing is that he has been able to match the reputation of his team-mate and star driver for almost the entire season by Lando Norris up to speed. Piastri has also driven flawlessly.
The top talent that was part of the F1 team Alpine’s driver academy has impressed many.
– Piastri has done a good job considering that he is in his first season in F1. McLaren is in quite a development stage. It seems that moving from the Alpine camp to McLaren has been the right decision, Urheilu’s expert Jukka Mildh seal.
With drama to the series
Born in 2001, Piastri originally belonged to the French Alpine organization.
He became a marked promise when he won consecutively the junior classes closer to the Formula Ones, the F3 series in 2020 and the F2 series in 2021. The current F1 stars have also been able to achieve a similar championship streak Charles Leclerc and George Russell.
Former F1 commentator James Allen praised Piastr’s talent for Urheilu a year ago.
– When you looked at his driving in the F2 and F3 series, he was really smart and really fast. He is a mixture of Charles Leclerc and Alain Prost. He is a really calculating driver, Allen enthused.
However, the F1 driving seat did not open up for the next season, so the racing became a gap year. Alpine race drivers drove Fernando Alonso mixed Esteban Ocon.
Alpine announced in the middle of last season that Piastri, who was part of its junior academy, will replace Alonso, who left the team. However, Piastri denied that he had a contract with Alpine and stated that the team had published a statement about the contract without his permission.
The traditional McLaren team, on the other hand, paid attention to Alpine’s driver promise. The parties had a dispute over the deal and the situation was discussed within the FIA of the International Automobile Federation. The matter was ultimately interpreted in McLaren’s favor.
Because of this commotion, Piastri can easily be talked about as the most talked about rookie driver since 17-year-old Verstappen.
The team change was a tough move from a junior who had driven zero F1 races. Piastri had a special charge to prove that he is worthy of an F1 place.
The situation was not made any easier by the fact that he had not driven for a good year and McLaren’s car was clearly in the development phase. In the opening races of the season, McLaren’s car was one of the slowest. From these starting points, Piastr’s mature and faultless driving has been very impressive.
– He has enough racing experience and skill to be able to take advantage of the points where McLaren’s car in the development stage works. Norris is a really good yardstick as a team mate. Compared to him, Piastri has driven well, says Mildh.
McLaren, which suffered from a lack of speed since the beginning of the season, made a leap to the top of the series in the summer, boosted by development parts. At the same time, Piastri was immediately able to fight for the top positions in Norris’s wake.
In qualifying at Silverstone, he reached the top three for the first time, and would have achieved his first podium without McLaren’s tactical mistake. In the Belgian sprint race, he was in the lead for a while and was finally second behind Verstappen.
The first podium finisher from the actual race came from Suzuka, Japan.
Well-known F1 journalist Tom Clarkson reminded in the F1 Nation podcast how even the series is currently behind Red Bull. Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and sometimes Aston Martin have been fighting for the title of second fastest car.
In an even pack, the driver’s driving skills are highlighted.
– The responsibility lies more with the drivers than it has in the recent history of formula one. That’s why you need a cool head, Clarkson pointed to Piastr.
The value of a well-known Manager
According to Mildh, one of the most important factors behind Piastr’s successful season is his manager Mark Webber. The Australian achieved eight victories and 42 podium places in his handsome and long career.
Webber is remembered as an uncompromising but respected driver who knows his own worth, who took on the number one driver on the track a few times with Red Bull Sebastian Vettel’s with.
– Webber looks at things very much through the driver’s eyes and knows what is required for the driver to be able to perform. He has been able to provide strong background support in that the preparation is the best possible.
Mildh, who knows Webber well, says that getting Piastri out of the Alpine camp was a big realization from the former F1 driver.
– It is very likely that in the French organization he would not have reached Formula One as quickly as promised. Webber saw an opportunity to go to McLaren and the team was open to him. Webber has a big role in finding a loophole in the contract so that Piastri could move to McLaren.
Kimi Räikkönen’s style
Among other things Jenson Button’s, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz also worked as a competition engineer Tom Stallard described The Race in the interview, how impressed he has been by Piastr’s attitude and way of thinking.
– He is a considerate conversationalist and a calm person. I’m not sure I’ve met so many that I would describe as calm and intense.
Although Piastri seems moderate, the F1 audience has also been offered a few tastes of his personality.
Piastri, who reached the top three in the Qatar time trial, heard from the reporter that his best performance in the last section has been rejected due to crossing the track limits.
– This is fun, isn’t it? Lovely, Piastri stated with a sarcastic smile.
Piastri continued his humor on his Instagram account by uploading a photo taken before the rejection, where the three fastest are posing. In the end, Piastr’s time trial ranking was sixth.
– The first, the second and the sixth, Piastri muttered.
On the PlanetF1 pages Piastri has been compared a little in terms of personality Kimi Räikkönen, who became a big phenomenon as a character. In the article, Piastri was described as a driver like Räikkönen, who doesn’t get distracted by anything and focuses on being himself.
Two future champions
Norris and Piastri are considered the best driver duo this season. Driving in his fifth season, Norris is the team’s trend setter, who has achieved five second places and has been third once.
With 23-year-old Norris and 22-year-old Piastr, McLaren has a unique situation on its hands. The team has two young drivers who are going very far in their careers, both of whom have championship potential.
There are currently no first and second drivers.
In September, Piastri signed an extension contract with McLaren that extends to 2026. Norris’ contract, on the other hand, extends until 2025.
McLaren has the potential to become Red Bull and Verstappen’s biggest challenger in the near future. On the other hand, McLaren has experience of what kind of challenges can arise when both drivers of the team are driving for the championship.
In the 2007 season, the differences between the two-time world champion Alonso and Hamilton, who was driving as a rookie driver, flared up in a fierce World Cup battle. As a result, Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen won the championship by one point ahead of the McLaren drivers who ended up tied.