Piastri enjoys being called an F1 driver

He is proud to wear the title and live up to the expectations that come with it.

We all remember the tug-of-war between Alpine and McLaren for Oscar Piastri, and McLaren finally won. He says there's no pressure as yet, although a lot is still expected from him.

On his first day of testing, Piastri had 52 laps in the 2023 MCL60 challenger. The young man won the 2019 Formula Renault Euro cup and 2020 F3 titles. The 21-year-old champion for F2 2021 was questioned whether his junior career and the tug-of-war between Alpine and McLaren for him, had in any way pushed him to outperform everyone in the F1 races.

He answered, "I think in terms of my junior results, obviously it’s been my ticket to F1, so I think for me, it’s only a good thing that I can look back at with confidence. And I think regarding the contract situation last year, I think it’s closed, and it’s pretty clear-cut, so I don’t think that aspect, in particular, adds anything. I think obviously there’s an element of expectation, but I think that’s to be expected for a rookie. We’re one of 20 drivers in Formula 1, so there’s always going to be a lot of eyes on us. So I don’t think that’s really been affected too much." 

The 21-year-old was Alpine’s reserve driver in 2022, but later on joined McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo. Asked to comment on these first few months with McLaren, he said they have been great, compared to the other squads he raced for in F2 and F3. “Yeah, it’s been great so far, settling in well. Obviously been with the team at the back end of last year a little bit, I spent a lot of time at the factory this side of Christmas as well. It’s been good, everyone’s been very welcoming, I’m getting to know the whole team better and better every day and yeah, it’s nice to be finally back to the racetrack driving,” he said. It’s definitely a step up; I think coming from the junior categories, firstly the size of the team is a lot bigger by a magnitude of 10 or more.

That side of things takes getting used to, just trying to remember hundreds and hundreds of people. But also just being one of two drivers in a team where you make your own car you don’t get given the car by a manufacturer of a series and that’s I guess a nice privilege to have and nice to be able to have some input into that." He concluded with a brilliant comment, saying, “It’s nice to be calling myself a Formula 1 driver.”