Regarded as one of the most promising junior drivers in motor sport, Oscar Piastri is an Australian talent under the Alpine Academy umbrella.
He has taken three-consecutive junior titles on his rise through the ranks: Formula Renault Eurocup (2019), FIA Formula 3 (2020), and FIA Formula 2 (2021). Despite his clear talents, Piastri was the reserve driver for the Alpine Formula 1 team in 2022, before making a drama-filled move to McLaren to partner Lando Norris ahead of the 2023 F1 season.
Karting and graduation to Formula Renault
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Piastri’s racing career began in karting in 2011. He rose through the ranks in Australia and began competing in Europe in 2015 though never claimed a title.
His best finish in karts came in 2016 when he finished that season’s CIK-FIA World Championship — OKJ series sixth overall.
In 2017, he moved up to take on British F4, scoring two podiums across the season and ending up sixth in the championship once more.
The following year, he switched to Formula Renault Eurocup where he scored a season-best finish of second and ended up ninth in the championship. For 2018, he switched to the reigning team’s champions, R-ace GP.
Formula Renault, Formula 3 and 2 titles
From 2019, Piastri began to find instant success no matter where he went. He won his first single-seater title that season, beating Victor Martins to the championship.
Piastri’s levels of success then followed a similar path to those of George Russell and Charles Leclerc, achieving back-to-back titles in F3 and F2.
In 2020, Piastri overcame rivals Théo Pourchaire and Logan Sergeant to win the Formula 3 title by three points from the Frenchman.
The following season, he graduated to Formula 2 with PREMA where he once again fought as a rookie to claim the crown. He secured six wins across the season and a further five podiums along the way, comfortably topping the table by 60.5 points.
Alpine reserve and silly season drama
Despite winning the junior F3 and F2 categories in his rookie season, Piastri was left without a Formula 1 drive for 2022. Fernando Alonso’s return and subsequent contract extension with Alpine seemingly blocked the Australian’s path, forcing him into a reserve driver role in 2022.
But the Aussie took centre stage during the F1 summer break, making a shock move to McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo. After Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement from the series at the end of the season, Alonso was quickly announced as his replacement, leaving Alpine with a seat to fill alongside Esteban Ocon for 2023. Naturally, they chose Piastri, announcing his promotion on social media.
However, unbeknown to the French manufacturer, Piastri had already agreed to a deal with McLaren, and quickly made a social media statement of his own, informing the F1 world that he would not be driving for Alpine in 2023. The situation quickly escalated, with the case being handled by the Contract Recognition Board, who ultimately diffused the situation and validated Piastri’s move to McLaren over Alpine.
With the drama now behind him, Piastri will have the tall task of matching the performance of Lando Norris, as McLaren look to fight at the front of the grid in 2023.