Piastri proud to be Australian F1 representative
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 14th February, 2023 - 5:00pm
Oscar Piastri has expressed his pride at becoming the most recent Australian to reach Formula 1 as he prepares for his rookie campaign.
The Melburnian will race for McLaren this season, the first in a ‘multi-year’ deal alongside Lando Norris.
He joins in place of countryman Daniel Ricciardo, leaving Piastri as the sole Antipodean representative on the grid this year.
“There’s a big sense of pride being the only Aussie on the grid,” he said when Speedcafe.com asked him about being Australia’s sole F1 driver in 2023.
“But that’s not to say that I wouldn’t enjoy having fellow Aussies on the grid there, too.”
Australia has enjoyed something of a purple patch when it comes to drivers in Formula 1 in recent decades.
Since Mark Webber made his debut at the 2002 Australian Grand Prix, there has been at least one Aussie on the grid ever since with the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo in 2011 and the Piastri himself this year.
There are others on the fringes too, with Jack Doohan already a race winner in the FIA Formula 2 Championship and enjoying support from the Alpine F1 team.
“It is nice to be the next Aussie into F1 – there’s usually only one of us at a time,” Piastri noted.
“So to be the Aussie on the grid now is a special feeling, and I think it’s nice that there’s some drivers following the footsteps in the lower categories coming up.”
Australian F1 connection for Piastri
Piastri is managed by Webber, who helped steer him through the tumultuous period midway through last year that for a time looked to threatened to derail his F1 dream.
“Mark’s been really, really helpful in my career, along with Ann, his wife,” the 21-year-old said.
“They’re doing a lot of work behind the scenes for me, making sure that everything’s under control and that I can focus on what I need to focus on.
“They’ve obviously been in this position before, Mark as a driver, and Ann alongside Mark doing a similar role to what she’s doing now.
“So they’ve both been very, very helpful for me.”
Piastri has been in touch with the man he replaced during the European winter, revealing the pair swapped text messages over the break.
“There was a photo of me in a McLaren with someone that someone that people thought was Daniel, but it wasn’t, it was just one of my mates,” he said.
“We caught up on the phone through texts at the end of last year, but nothing more than that.”
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