Australia’s newest Formula 1 driver, Oscar Piastri, could have the opportunity to be baptized after Melbourne’s refurbished Grand Prix track upgrade work is completed.
Piastri was named last year’s Alpine Vice Driver for 2022 and is expected to replace former World Champion Fernando Alonso at the race venue for 2023.
The Albert Park track has been extensively remodeled since it was last used in 2019, with five curves modified and two more completely removed, while the complete resurfacing of the track will be completed during the summer, before the April race.
Piastri takes a big step towards F1
When the Adelaide track first opened in 1985, former world champion Alan Jones drove the first laps on the track.
Australian Grand Prix Corporation boss Andrew Westacott has told Wide World of Sports that he wants to honor Australian F1 stars.
“It would be a wonderful way to start,” he said.
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“Occasionally the track is lifted back to the surface in January, wouldn’t it be great if Oscar just happened to be in town during the New Year break? He might want to come along and do a ceremonial tour to dip the track.
“Whether it happens in January or April, I’d love to see Oscar and Daniel Ricciardo and Mark Webber and Alan Jones, maybe we’ll make it into their four collective groups.”
Westacott said Piastr’s results over the past few years speak for themselves, making it impossible for Alpine to ignore his progress.
“It’s exceptional news and so well-deserved,” he explained.
“The fact that he won F3 in 2020 and will lead F2 this year is a great sign. If he continues to win F2 this year, he will be associated with winning George Russell and Charles Leclerc in those two series as a beginner, and everyone knows how. good they are .two are.
“I’m so happy for everyone involved in Oscar’s career. You don’t see the huge sacrifice Oscar has made, and so has his family. He moved abroad when he was 14 years old.
“As we congratulate Oscar and pat him on the back, we should do the same for those who have supported him.”
Piastr will have the opportunity to drive next year on at least two Grand Prix weekends, and the new rules require teams to drive a novice driver in the season’s opening practice.
Melbourne is set to host the third round of the 2022 championship series, and Westacott joked that Albert Park would be the perfect place for Piastrille to join Friday morning rehearsals like Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
“I think Round 1 would be premature, Round 2 would be premature, so I think Round 3 is a perfect fit,” Westacott said with a laugh.
“He plans to learn about the dual world championship at Alpine, with Fernando Alonso, and a guy like Mark Webber in his corner as manager, promising good things for Oscar’s future.
“He has strength because he has incredibly good talent.”
At the age of 20, Webber ranks one of the “top three juniors in the world,” leading the 36-point F2 championship with two laps left.
Speaking to Nine’s Today, Piastri said driving an F1 is a dream come true.
“It was obviously a very exciting moment, not quite the last step on my journey, hopefully, but certainly as close as I can,” he said.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was little, so the proximity and some sort of F1 role as a deputy driver is pretty special to me.
“I was pretty excited to find out.”
Piastri said competition for F1 grid seats is fierce, with only 20 seats available.
“It’s cruel, and I still haven’t gotten an F1 seat, I have the role of deputy driver, but I don’t want to stop there, I also want a race seat in the near future,” he explained.
“It hasn’t been easy, you have to win a lot of good people too.”
According to the original 2021 Formula 1 calendar, Melbourne would have hosted the Australian Grand Prix race this weekend.
It was lifted in July because there was no certainty as to which travel restrictions would still apply.
As it turns out, fully vaccinated travelers from abroad can now visit Melbourne, which means the competition could have been organized.
But Westacott says he is happy with the call made four months ago.
“Yes, in retrospect, it could have gone ahead, but when you look at it, if we’re going to have a sensational Formula 1 event, it’s all together to make it happen on April 10 next year,” he said. said.
“We have a much better chance of doing justice next year thanks to a huge audience and two Australian participants.
– There will be new cars, a new track, maybe a new world champion and Daniel Ricciardo in new colors because he hasn’t been to Australia with McLaren yet.
“I don’t regret the change, it just adds hype to April next year.”
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