This weekend see’s Formula 1 return to Australia after two years away due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, BWT Alpine F1 Team Reserve Driver, Australian Oscar Piastri, is incredibly excited for the Grand Prix.
Piastri is perhaps one of the most excited team members in the paddock this weekend, as the Australian not only gets to celebrate the sport returning to his home country, but he also gets to celebrate his twenty-first birthday!
The reigning Formula 2 World Champion and all-round Australian hero, has had a busy week ahead of the Grand Prix after taking part in a number of events. Piastri began the trip in his hometown just down the road from his family home and school, at the world-famous Brighton Bathing Boxes. This was followed by a tour of the 100,000 seater Melbourne Cricket Ground, which then saw him round-off his trip with a karting display at Todd Road, where his racing journey began eleven-years ago!
Piastri can’t wait for the Australian Grand Prix to get going and is expecting a monster crowd, you’d imagine it won’t be long until he takes part in the Grand Prix himself.
“It’s going to be a big old week, that’s for sure! My birthday on the Wednesday, Grand Prix weekend immediately afterwards. Obviously, this is the first time back for the Australian Grand Prix in the last couple of years. It’s going to be a massive crowd and a big event, which I’m looking forward. Being able to see my family on top of everything else going on; it’s very special for me.”
A key factor of this weekend is the vast number of track changes which will hopefully allow for more overtaking around the circuit, Piastri is confident that the modifications will improve the racing.
“I have seen them and it’s going to be a lot quicker than the old layout. I don’t know how much quicker the lap times will be but I’ve driven the circuit on the simulator and it’s significantly quicker. The back section where they’ve removed the chicane, it’s now basically a massive straight leading into the right hander. There could be some. interesting overtaking moves into there and cars side by side at very high speeds. It’ll be exciting. I think these new cars can follow better at high speeds, so I think the changes made here suit the new cars very well.”
Alpine have enjoyed a somewhat successful start to the season, with three points finishes and only one retirement between Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, Piastri thinks it’s been a strong start to the season for the team.
“I think it’s been good so far. Bahrain was good to open our account with a double-points finish. I think the potential was there for a little bit more but to have two cars finish in the points at the first round, I think was a good result for the team. Saudi Arabia was looking really good but unfortunately we had Fernando’s car issue. It’s been a promising start with more to come I’m sure!”
As part of his role this season as a Reserve Driver, the Australian has become accustomed to a different side of racing, one which he discussed has given him a new perspective on the sport and the team.
“I think so definitely. Especially having the fans back now and seeing the other sides of the sport apart from the driving side, such as the media and socialising with fans for example, there’s a lot more going on than the junior categories. I think that’s been the biggest thing I’ve gotten used to. At the end of the day, it’s still of course a race team of the highest level. I think all of the top teams in motorsport have several things in common. Being able to listen in the garage and pitwall is very insightful and I’m trying to learn as much as I can to implement that when I hopefully get onto the grid.”