Piastri ‘itching’ for F1 debut
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 1st March, 2023 - 2:42am
Oscar Piastri is “itching” to get going at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix where he will make his F1 race debut.
The rookie has joined McLaren for 2023 after spending a year on the sidelines as Alpine reserve driver.
Piastri has had a number of outings with his new team, including the post-season test in Abu Dhabi last year, to help prepare for his debut season in F1.
“I’m excited for my first race in Formula 1 and for it to be in papaya is really special,” said the 2021 Formula 2 champion.
“I’ve been waiting a long time for my Formula 1 debut so it’s great that the moment is finally here.
“I’m feeling prepared for the challenges ahead and to get back on track in a competitive environment.
“It’s been a while since I last raced so I’m itching to get going again.”
Testing miles before race debut
Piastri signed with McLaren midway through last year, a fact which was made public sometime later as Alpine attempted to secure his services for 2023.
Once resolved and released, the Melburnian had a test in a 2021-spec McLaren at Paul Ricard before the Abu Dhabi outing in November.
Over the European winter he’s had a number of other opportunities to pilot McLaren machinery and most recently took part in the three-day pre-season test in Bahrain.
“The work I’ve put in with the team over the past few months and the welcome I’ve had from McLaren and the fans has set me up well for the season ahead,” Piastri said.
“I still have a lot to learn and some bits to get my head around with the MCL60.
“As a team, we’ve still got a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be, but I’m feeling optimistic for the season.
“I’m looking forward to the battles, the challenges and everything ahead of me as I properly kick start this journey.”
McLaren had a difficult pre-season testing with the team logging the fewest miles of all 10 teams.
It battled a number of issues across the three days, while its car also looked a handful – a legacy of a late change of approach by the design team.
It is therefore expected the early part of the season will be a battle for the squad before updates arrive around the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.
This weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix begins on Friday with opening practice starting at 14:30 local time (22:30 AEDT).
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