Piastri: Year on Formula 1 sidelines ‘wasn’t wasted’

Oscar Piastri says spending 2022 as Formula 1 reserve driver at Alpine 'wasn't wasted'

Oscar Piastri says spending 2022 as Formula 1 reserve driver at Alpine ‘wasn’t wasted’

Oscar Piastri has admitted that while he would have preferred to have raced in Formula 1 last season, his year on the sidelines wasn’t wasted.

The Melburnian will this weekend make his F1 race debut with McLaren after switching to the papaya camp for the coming campaign.

He spent last year under the auspices of Alpine as its official reserve driver, though was benched in the latter part after it was revealed he’d signed for McLaren.

Looking back, Piastri sees positives in what was a tricky situation.

“Working as reserve driver definitely taught me a few things, so it wasn’t a wasted year by any means,” he said.

“Obviously, as a racing driver, I want to be racing as much as I can and ideally going straight from F2 to F1 probably would have been better.

“But there’s no point complaining about it. It’s in the past now. It’s what happened. I’m here now on the grid.”

Piastri prepared for Formula 1

Piastri had a number of outings with Alpine in the early part of last season, driving the team’s 2021 car for the most part.

He also shadowed Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon at events, taking on lessons that he suggests will serve him well now he’s in the hot seat.

“There’s definitely some areas, mostly off track, that I learned last year,” Piastri said.

“I think that’s helped with some of the, I guess wider introduction into the world of F1 – not necessarily the driving but everything else.

“So I feel like that area [I’m] quite comfortable with, it’s just needing a few more laps.”

McLaren had a difficult pre-season test with the squad recording the lowest mileage of all 10 teams.

Heading into the three days of running the team was already adopting an almost pessimistic stance after revealing the car had missed its development targets.

McLaren changed its approach midway through development meaning the car it will race in Bahrain is someway short of where the team hoped it would be.

Upgrades are in the pipeline, however, but are not expected to come online until the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the fourth round of the season, in April.

The 2023 Formula 1 season begins this weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 for which kicks off at 14:30 local time (22:30 AEDT) on Friday.

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