In a world of few guarantees, Oscar Piastri winning junior single-seater championships became one of them during his climb up the motorsport ladder. In just three years, the Australian won enough trophies to host his own edition of the Oscars.
Across those three seasons, Oscar grabbed the Road to F1 by the scruff of the neck, smashing several records on his way to becoming the first driver to win Formula Renault, Formula 3 and Formula 2 consecutively.
The Australian is the latest in a long line of Formula 1 drivers from the other side of the Tasman Sea to our New Zealand-born founder, Bruce McLaren. Like Bruce, Oscar exudes calm and is a quick learner, impressing our race team with a composed approach to his first tests, and a clear understanding of the tough task ahead of him.
Originally hailing from the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, Oscar began karting at the age of 10 before moving to England in 2016 to pursue his F1 dream. Finishing as British Formula 4 vice-champion in 2017, Oscar's breakthrough campaign came in 2019, as he won Formula Renault Eurocup with seven wins and 11 podiums.
COVID-19 delayed his Formula 3 debut by several months and shortened the season to a brutal nine rounds in 11 weeks. Piastri was one of nine different race winners from 18 races, taking two victories and a further four podiums for PREMA Racing, clinching the title in a tense season finale. He did this despite never taking pole, instead relying on astute tyre management, raw pace and consistency. The latter of those is arguably his strongest, most defining attribute – he finished outside of the points just three times.
Earning promotion into F2 with PREMA, Piastri used the familiarity and continuity of that relationship to focus on improving his qualifying in pre-season. His efforts were rewarded as he became the first driver in F2 to take five consecutive pole positions, from Round 4 in Silverstone to the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
His F2 title win was much more cut and dry than F3, with six wins and a further five podiums, Oscar clinched the crown emphatically with two races to spare. As with his previous two championship successes, his consistency shone through – he scored 14 top-fives from 23 races, at least one podium every round, and only finished out of the points four times.
As a graduate of the Alpine Academy - formerly the Renault Sport Academy - Piastri tested the team’s Renault RS18 F1 car during 2021 and took to the wheel of the Alpine A521 in that year’s end-of-season F1 Young Driver Test at Abu Dhabi.
With no F1 vacancy for Piastri in 2022 and due to regulations preventing the F2 Drivers' Champion from returning to compete again, Oscar remained active as the Reserve Driver for the Alpine F1 team, which included test days and race attendance.
After joining McLaren in late 2022, Oscar officially linked up with the team at the end of the F1 season to begin an extensive preparation programme, which included the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test and private tests.
Oscar will run #81 on his McLaren car, which was his number in karting. He will become the first driver to carry #81 since drivers were able to choose their race number in 2014.