What is possible for Oscar Piastri in the second half of the F1 2023 season?

Sam Cooper
McLaren driver Oscar Piastri under a cloudy sky.

Oscar Piastri walks through the paddock.

Oscar Piastri has performed above everyone’s predictions in his rookie season so what can be expected of him going into the second half of 2023?

At the beginning of the year, there was a genuine debate about which of the three rookies would perform the best.

Piastri seemed the obvious choice but after a year out of racing and having joined a new team in one of the most infamous moves of F1 history, it was not a guarantee that the Australian would have an easy time of it.

He was also partnered up with a driver who had just comfortably put an eight-time race winner to the sword and with a McLaren car that looked well below its best heading into Bahrain.

And yet, as the drivers wind down during the summer shutdown, there is an argument that Piastri has been one of the standout performers alongside the likes of Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso, two experienced World Champions.

Expectation now of a rookie driver is at an all-time high perhaps since Lewis Hamilton’s 2007 campaign so what now of the Mark Webber backed driver?

More points look likely for Oscar Piastri

When predicting what is to come for Piastri, an obvious starting point is more points. Ignoring a Carlos Sainz shunt in Belgium, Piastri has scored points in every race since the Silverstone upgrades and in the last three races, only four drivers have scored more points than him.

It seems obvious then that he is likely to add more to his current tally of 34 but the question is how many more?

As the season passes its halfway point, most teams will naturally start to look towards 2024. Williams have admitted as much as have Red Bull and teams like AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo and possibly Haas may think it is better to focus on next year than scrap for points in 2023.

The exception to this would be Aston Martin who have confirmed they will keep developing and possibly both of Ferrari and Mercedes but should the pecking order remain the same as it is now, McLaren have arguably the second quickest car on the grid, meaning Piastri should have no problem adding more points to his tally, the next question is how high can he finish?

Podiums also on offer for Oscar Piastri

If it was not for a poorly timed safety car in Silverstone, Piastri would have most likely already had his first podium in F1 in just his 10th race.

But is it a possibility for the second half of the year? Every indication is that it is.

He has already been in the top three, admittedly for the sprint race in Spa, but that performance showed he is capable of mixing it with the best.

The question is, where could that podium come? While the upgraded MCL60 has proven itself somewhat of an all-rounder, there is no doubt its best strengths come at high-speed circuits meaning Monza, Suzuka and even possibly Las Vegas could be ones to target for Piasti and the Woking side.

Can Oscar Piastri be the man to break the Red Bull dominance?

But the great question and one which extends beyond Piastri is, can any non-Red Bull driver win in 2023? 12 races down and that answer has so far been no but completing an undefeated season has never happened in a Formula 1 season, not to mention one with 22 races.

Right now, it is anyone’s guess who is best placed to topple Red Bull. The natural candidate would be Mercedes given their history and their ability to develop a car while Ferrari look just as far off, if not further, as they did at the start of the season.

So why not McLaren? Piastri was 0.011 seconds from beating Verstappen to the sprint pole in Belgium and while the race is another story, currently it is the McLarens that look like the only car able to at least keep within the dirty air of the RB19.

Another question is where could this win come and the mind goes back to Monza for it is a track that has notoriously been difficult for Red Bull.

Verstappen’s win last year was the team’s first since Sebastian Vettel in 2013 and while they look favourites for the 2023 race, anything is theoretically possible in F1.

If Verstappen and Sergio Perez are seemingly out of the running at any race this season, there will be a number of candidates hoping to step up onto the top spot but do not rule Piastri from being one of them.

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Oscar Piastri’s 2023 already a success

Even if Piastri were to finish the year with no more points, the work he has already done has proven McLaren’s decision to dump Daniel Ricciardo, a move that cost them $18 million, and pinch Piastri out from under Alpine’s nose has been vindicated.

At 22 years of age, Piastri looks as if he has been racing for years and if Formula 1 is searching for its next potential future World Champion, there is no better place to start than with the Melburnian.

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