Oscar Piastri's career through the years
Just last year, with scandal, McLaren announced the signing of Oscar Piastri for the 2023 season. Many remembered him for his Formula 2 title in 2021, but what happened before that?
Oscar started his career in karting back in 2011, and since 2014 he has competed in various Australian championships, where he won several titles and made a name for himself. He drew the attention of many Formula 4 teams, which eventually waited until he reached the right age to participate in the championship.
In 2016, Oscar began to develop his career in Arabian Formula 4, but he only took part in a few rounds with the DragonF4 team, which did not stop him from finishing the championship in sixth position. A year later the Australian moved to British F1, racing a full season to become vice-champion. Even then, some academies began to be interested in him, but he did not receive an invitation from any of them. Oscar spent 2018-2019 in Euroformula with Arden Motorsport and R-Ace GP, with which he subsequently took the title with seven season wins.
After his participation in the post-season tests of Formula 3, Oscar's career has dramatically gained momentum. In January 2020, it was announced that the Australian was joining the top Prema Racing team in Formula 3, and that he would now be supported by Renault, now Alpine. His manager and mentor is none other than Mark Webber, a former Formula 1 driver. With such contracts and arsenal, it became clear that Oscar is betting a lot, so now he will have to give his all.
Season 2020 was at risk of cancellation, but still held, and Oscar immediately won the race at the Red Bull Ring. His second win came at the Catalunya stage, but was enough for Oscar to be crowned champion at the end of the season. His lead over his main pursuer Theo Pourchaire was only three points. True, there was another contender, namely Logan Sargent, his teammate, who had experienced too many technical problems in the last two stages, resulting in a loss of the lead.
No one doubted Oscar's move to Formula 2: according to the rules of the series champion had no right to remain in it. Oscar teamed up with Robert Shwartzman, won the first round in Bahrain and slowly but surely cemented his first position in the championship. The Aussie's results throughout the season were amazing. The championship format was changed from two races per weekend to three, and this was a bit of a shake up for the repeaters who had already got used to the normal format. As the season progressed, Oscar won five more races over the next five stages and became champion ahead of his closest rival, Shwartzman, by as much as 60.5 points!
Piastri spent the 2022 season on the bench, with only a couple of tests for Alpine. Vettel's announcement of the end of his career began a massive change of teams, and one of the most scandalous was Oscar's move to... Alpine.
«I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year. This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.»
Pretty rough and serious statement for a young pilot who is a member of the Alpine Academy. Let's leave aside the problems with communication in the French team and the impudence of the young man. Alpine was negotiating with Alonso to extend the contract, which meant that for at least another year Piastri will be on the sidelines of the royal series.
"We're not just helping him with money, we're putting our heart and soul into him."
The situation probably forced the Australian to start negotiations with other teams. Many were talking about Williams, but no one even considered that McLaren and Oscar would be interested in each other. A month later, McLaren announced the signing of Oscar Piastri to the team for 2023. Safnauer promised to go to court for monetary compensation, as they were raising the star for themselves. McLaren also offered a driver swap, but Alpin rejected the offer. In the end, Alpin settled for Pierre Gasly for their team.
Of course, Oscar received a lot of heckling, but it did not prevent him from confidently start his debut season in Formula 1. Despite all the problems faced by McLaren, in Australia, in his home race, Oscar scored his first points, recalling himself as a young rising star. No analyst or fan has any doubt: one day Oscar will be champion, and for that he will have to make many hard decisions over the next few years...