The next Oscar Piastri? Australian teenage hopeful receives backing of former F1 star

Oliver Harden
Oscar Piastri on the grid in Melbourne with a prominent Australia flag alongside him

Could Oscar Piastri become Australia's next World Champion?

Former F1 driver David Brabham is to mentor young Australian racing driver Patrick Heuzenroeder during the 2024 season, it has been announced.

Heuzenroeder, 18, has joined the Brabham Group’s mentoring programme ahead of the new season, in which he will compete in the GB3 Championship for reigning teams’ champions JHR Developments.

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The teenager will also benefit from the support of Matt Bishop, the former McLaren and Aston Martin F1 communications chief, through his Diagonal Comms agency, which he founded in June 2023.

Australia has a glorious F1 history, with Brabham’s father Jack winning three World Championships in 1959, 1960 and 1966 before Alan Jones added to the nation’s tally in 1980.

With Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo racing for McLaren and RB respectively in 2024, Australia has a strong presence on the current grand prix grid, with UK-based Heueznroeder hoping to emerge as the nation’s next F1 superstar. recommends

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Heuzenroeder said: “I am incredibly excited to be working with an Aussie racing legend of the stature of David Brabham.

“He is part of one of the world’s greatest motorsport dynasties, the Brabham family, and I am very fortunate to have him as my mentor. I intend to learn as much from him as I can, as fast as possible.

“I am also thrilled to be working with Matt Bishop and his team at Diagonal Comms. Their skills and experience can help raise my profile and create new opportunities that will take me to where I want to be.

“My ultimate goal is Formula 1, and I am determined to chase and realise that dream.

“My motto is ‘purpose, commitment, and resilience’, and those are all qualities that I have shown since I left my home in Australia at the age of 16 and travelled 10,000 miles to the UK to pursue a career at the highest level of motorsport.

“I have sacrificed everything to be here, I am obsessed with racing, and I am totally focused on improving every day so as to achieve my goals.

“I am looking forward to taking the next step this season in the GB3 Championship – a highly competitive eight-round series that races on some of the world’s most famous circuits.

“I will be up against some of the most talented young drivers on the planet, and you can be sure that one of us will go on to make it to F1.

“I am working tirelessly – both in the car and out of it – every day to make sure that it is me.”

David Brabham and Patrick Heuzenroeder
David Brabham and Patrick Heuzenroeder

Brabham – who made 24 F1 starts between 1990 and 1994 before enjoying a successful career in sportscars, winning the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours race in 2009 – said: “I very much look forward to working with Patrick Heuzenroeder over the course of the year as he competes in the very competitive British GB3 Championship.

“I know that the path to Formula 1 will be a challenging one, but Patrick has speed and a great attitude, and he wants to learn. He has all the attributes needed to succeed in motorsport.

“I am looking forward to sharing my experience with him, opening up my network, and supporting him at tests and races, to get him to F1.

“In addition, I have known Matt Bishop for many years, and I am delighted that Patrick will be working with Matt and his Diagonal Comms team.

“Patrick is an ambitious and driven young man and I would encourage everyone to get behind him, not only in Australia but also elsewhere. I look forward to supporting and mentoring him in 2024 and beyond.”

Bishop, who worked closely with the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso over the course of his career, added: “I have worked with many excellent drivers in my motorsport career, including four Formula 1 World Champions, and one of the aspects of that work that I have always enjoyed most is identifying young talents and helping them develop and thrive.

“When I was McLaren’s Comms Director I was very involved in the team’s young driver development programme, working closely with gifted young drivers such as Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne, and Nyck de Vries, all of whom made it to F1.

“I am therefore absolutely delighted that Diagonal Comms will be working with a very exciting young talent, Patrick Heuzenroeder, from Australia.

“Patrick is only 18 but already we can say that we think he has what it takes to reach the highest level.

“Together with his mentor David Brabham, whom I have known for many years and whom I hold in very high regard, we will do our utmost to try to make sure he does just that.”

The opening round of the 2024 GB3 season is due to be held at Oulton Park this weekend.

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