Piastri: Demonstrating Resilience to F1 Drivers Was Crucial

Oscar Piastri emphasises the significance of proving to his Formula 1 competitors that, despite being a rookie, he wouldn't be a pushover.


By Ben Bush
Published on January 5, 2024

McLaren's Oscar Piastri On Rookie Season Racecraft

As the Sprint Race winner in Qatar, Oscar Piastri garnered significant praise during his rookie season in Formula 1, especially for his willingness to compete fiercely against more seasoned drivers.

Notable incidents include George Russell receiving a five-second penalty for leaving the track to overtake Piastri at the 2023 season race in Austin. Additionally, Yuki Tsunoda experienced a spin in Mexico following an attempt to pass Piastri on the outside.

In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com, Piastri, who has previously won both the FIA F2 and F3 championships, expressed that he needed to demonstrate to his fellow F1 drivers that his lack of experience in the top tier of racing wouldn’t make him an easy opponent.

“Not so much,” Piastri replied when asked if he had been underestimated by his fellow drivers. 

“Of course, there’s an element of respect and I guess racing people how you want to be raced in some ways. I guess I always try and race people hard, but fair.  

“At the beginning of the season or beginning of your career, it’s always important to show it to people that you’re not a pushover because it’s not a nice thing to have.” 

During the encounter with Russell, the Mercedes driver hinted at assessing Piastri’s approach by attempting an outside pass to gauge whether the McLaren newcomer would be “accommodating” enough to allow room.

Piastri believes he has struck an ideal balance on the track, avoiding excessive aggression. He attributes this approach as a key factor in his achievements in climbing the ranks of junior single-seater racing.

“I don’t think I’m overly harsh or aggressive or anything like that,” the Australian added.

“In my junior career, a big element of my championships was from staying out of trouble and being consistent.

“I think there’s definitely a good saying in that it’s sometimes more important to finish the race and be wrong in a situation than be right about something and be out of the race.

“So, that’s kind of always an element I’ve tried to keep. But I just tried to race hard but fair.”

During his debut season, Piastri maintained an impeccable record, as he did not receive any FIA super licence penalty points. This achievement is noteworthy, especially for a rookie driver, as it demonstrates his ability to navigate the rigorous demands of Formula 1 racing while adhering strictly to the sport’s rules and regulations. Avoiding penalty points is a significant feat in such a high-pressure environment, and it underscores Piastri’s discipline and skill on the track.

Source: Motorsport.com

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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