Oscar Piastri reveals reluctance to revel in ‘demoralising’ championship dreams

Michelle Foster
Oscar Piastri speaking to the media.

Oscar Piastri reckons McLaren are in the "mix"

Most F1 drivers arrive on the grid dreaming of race wins and World titles but not Oscar Pastri as he accepts that’s “still very dependent” on the car.

Joining the Formula 1 grid last season as he signed on as a McLaren driver, Piastri finished eighth in his home race at the Australian Grand Prix.

‘I rarely dare to dream about it…’

It was an impressive showing, applauded by the home fans, in the Aussie’s first race on home soil since being signed as a Formula 1 driver.

But while that Sunday, Piastri capitalised on a chaotic finish to score points, as the year progressed McLaren emerged as Red Bull’s closest challenger.

Although only P4 in the Constructors’ standings, Lando Norris recorded several runner-up results on Grand Prix Sundays while Piastri won the Qatar Sprint ahead of World Champion Max Verstappen.

Now, having closed in on the podium with a P4 at this year’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, fans are asking what next for Australia’s next big hope.

On his side, Piastri is keeping those hopes to himself.

“I rarely dare to dream about it,” he told Speedcafe. “In Formula 1, this sport is still very dependent on both car and driver – a lot of car.

“If you’re in the slowest car on the grid, you’re not going to win a race or a championship. It’s as simple as that.

“No matter how hard you try or want it, it’s not going to happen for you.

“So trying to wish those things or dream about them can very easily become demoralising instead of constructive.”

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Ahead of his team-mate Lando Norris by 16 points to 12 after two races, Piastri acknowledges the first goal in Formula 1 is to get the best out of yourself and the car on the day.

“I’ll get much more pride and happiness out of focussing on those kinds of things,” he said. “If you can finish third, go ahead then, go out and finish third.

“But if you’ve clearly not got the car to win a race, I don’t think there’s that much use thinking about it.

“More than anything, you can always judge yourself, very easily, or I find it very easy, to judge whether you’ve had a good weekend or a bad weekend, and whether you’ve gotten the most out of what you’ve got.

“Japan, my first podium, certainly was not in my top three [performances of the season] and probably not top five races of the year, and it was one of my best results of the season.

“Sometimes the results don’t always tell the full story of how I feel the weekend’s gone.”

McLaren vow to protect Piastri from media Down Under

Piastri’s comments come as McLaren have vowed to protect their driver from the intense media scrutiny that comes from his home race.

“In general,” said team boss Andrea Stella, “this year, we are paying more attention on the driver schedule over a race weekend.

“We want to make sure that drivers have the time to focus on performance, focus on having downtime, relax, and so on. So, we are using effectively the same approach.

“But if anything, even more carefully for Melbourne – there’s many requests. But some we will accept; some we’ll have to protect delivering the performance and we will not accept.”

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