Piastri looking forward to Australian reception
By Mat Coch
Monday 20th December, 2021 - 11:34am
Aussie hotshot Oscar Piastri is looking forward to spending some time on home soil following a bumper 2021 campaign in Europe.
The 20-year-old won the FIA Formula 2 Championship on debut and has recently been announced as the Alpine Formula 1 team’s reserve driver.
It’s seen Piastri shoot into the spotlight locally as he fields interview requests from commercial television.
Speaking with Speedcafe.com, he admitted he didn’t have much concept of how prominent he’s become in Australia.
“Not really, no,” he admitted when asked if he’s any concept of his newfound fame.
“My Instagram followers have gone up a hell of a lot.
“But I mean, even last year, I was pretty shocked that when I got off the plane and landed, well firstly, I was carrying my F3 championship trophy, so that kind of gave it away, but some of the airport staff actually knew who I was! That was pretty nuts.”
A year on, and with an F1 deal in his pocket along with the F2 championship trophy under his arm, he’s set to land in Melbourne for a Christmas with family and friends.
“I guess I’ll be more well-known this time around,” Piastri observed.
“I guess it hasn’t really hit me because I haven’t experienced it in person.
“But I guess considering people knew who I was last year, I guess a lot more people know who I am now.
“That’ll be cool to experience and hopefully it’s not too much,” he added.
“I’m looking forward to it and I guess it’s pretty damn cool that I guess I’m ‘mainstream’, and that is pretty exciting to say.”
Piastri last week took part in post-season testing with Alpine, steering the car piloted by Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon during the 2021 F1 season.
It was his first outing in contemporary machinery but won’t be the last with an extensive testing programme lined up for the Melburnian in 2022.
That will see him whisked back to Europe early in the new season, leaving him a comparatively short time at home.
“I don’t know how long I’ll be there for but hopefully, you know, three or four weeks,” he said.
“It’s been a long stint away from home – I think it’s actually been the longest stint I’ve had away from home.
“By the time I leave [Europe] it’ll be about 10 months.
“I mean, I’m not desperate to come home because I know I still have a job to do over here, but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing my family.”
Upon arrival in Melbourne, the youngster will be required to take a COVID-19 test and complete three-days of self-quarantine before a second test between days five and seven after his arrival.
However, unlike Daniel Ricciardo, who is set to spent Christmas in hotel quarantine in Western Australia, Piastri will be able to celebrate with family and friends.