F2 CEO warns Oscar Piastri he has to ‘be immediately on the spot’ to match Lando Norris

Sam Cooper
Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri stood next to the MCL60. Woking, February 2023.

Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri stood next to the MCL60. Woking, February 2023.

F2 CEO Bruno Michel has backed Oscar Piastri to perform well in Formula 1 but has warned he has a tough task ahead of him to match Lando Norris.

2021 Formula 2 World Champion Piastri makes the move up to F1 this year having spent a season as Alpine’s reserve driver and although it is not the French outfit who he will be lining up for, thoughts have begun to move past his dramatic departure from Alpine and to how the highly rated youngster may fare in motorsport’s biggest competition.

Of the three rookies on the grid, it is Piastri who comes with the most expectation having completed the rare feat of winning F3 and F2 in back-to-back seasons, an accomplishment that only George Russell and Charles Leclerc have achieved in the past, and the Australian has perhaps one of the toughest team-mates of which to measure himself to in Norris.

As CEO of both F2 and F3, Michel knows all about Piastri and has backed him to perform well as he makes the step up into F1.

“I think he is going to be very, very good,” Michel told media including PlanetF1.com. “I think he showed that when he was in F3 and then in F2 how fast he could be in qualifying and his race skill as well.

“It’s quite unusual to have drivers coming in winning back-to-back championships as rookies and the examples we have are quite rare and also demonstrates that those drivers after that are doing quite an interesting career. So I’m really, really positive for Oscar.”

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But while Michel has backed Piastri to be a success, the F2 boss has also recognised the challenge that faces the former Prema Racing driver and that is being able to do what his compatriot Daniel Ricciardo could not and compete with Norris.

“Now he knows as well that he’s going to have to have a team-mate who is one of the fastest drivers in Formula 1 at the moment in a team that he knows quite well.

“So he has to be immediately on the spot and that’s a very, very important thing for him to make sure that he’s at the level of Lando as soon as possible. It’s a challenge but I’m sure he will be up to it.”

Piastri will have his first taste of life in F1 this week when he takes part in pre-season testing in Bahrain ahead of the season start next week.