Franz Tost believes Oscar Piastri’s performances in his rookie season are even more impressive because they’ve flown in the face of the AlphaTauri team boss’ “three-year” theory.
Piastri secured his maiden Formula 1 grand prix podium to go with his Spa sprint runner-up result when he finished third in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
The first rookie to score points this season, the first to feature on the front row of a grand prix grid, and now the first to stand on the podium, Piastri leapt to ninth in the Drivers’ standings with his breakthrough result.
Franz Tost explains why Oscar Piastri’s performances are ‘all the greater’
It has earned him widespread praise, even from rival team bosses.
“In today’s extremely complex Formula 1, it takes three years for a young driver to be able to get everything relatively perfect,” out-going AlphaTauri team boss Tost told F1-Insider.
“The performance that Piastri delivered in his first year is therefore all the greater.”
The Austrian is a firm believer that it takes three years for a driver to get up to speed in Formula 1, and it’s an opinion he often expresses.
Last year, he told the official F1 website: “You can’t expect that a rookie knows everything from the very beginning onwards.
“That’s why I always say a young driver needs three years to understand this complicated Formula 1 because Formula 1 has become much more complicated than it was years before.”
Piastri’s team-mate Lando Norris admits the rookie’s pace has forced him to up his own game.
“He’s performed, he’s done everything he needed to, and I think it exceeded most people’s expectations from what he’s been able to achieve already this season,” the Briton said in Suzuka.
“He’s pushed me a lot – it’s not a nice thing, it’s not what I want – but he’s done a very good job.”
Oscar Piastri reminds his manager of Michael Schumacher
Meanwhile, Piastri’s manager and former F1 driver Mark Webber says working with the 21-year-old was an eye-opener when it came to his own limitations as a driver.
Despite winning nine grands prix and thrice finishing third in the Drivers’ standings, Webber wasn’t able to make that final step to claim a World title.
He says working with Piastri, he realised his young charge has a “Michael Schumacher” quality that sets him apart.
“I only knew I wasn’t good enough to win championships when I met Oscar,” he said. “Despite all his talent, when it comes to his way of always wanting to get better and never resting on his laurels, he reminds me extremely of Michael Schumacher.”