Oscar Piastri is arguably the most exciting prospect in Australian motorsport, and will make his Formula 1 debut this year.
The 21-year-old has secured a seat at McLaren for the 2023 season, replacing fellow countryman Daniel Ricciardo.
The Sporting News takes a look at the young racing star’s career so far.
Oscar Piastri’s career highlights and progression
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Piastri began karting in 2011.
He worked his way up through divisions in Australia and Europe, notably finishing third in the Australian Kart Championship in 2015.
The following year he transitioned away from karts, earning a spot in the Formula 4 UAE Championship and aided by sponsorship from his father’s company HP Tuners.
Piastri then moved to the United Kingdom to compete in the Formula 4 British Championship where he finished second in 2017.
The Australian’s first major racing championship victory came in 2019 when he finished on top after the Formula Renault Eurocup season.
He progressed to Formula 3 in 2020, immediately followed by a move to Formula 2 in 2021. Remarkably, he won both championships.
Piastri finished on a total of 252.5 points by the conclusion of his F2 campaign, 60.5 points ahead of his nearest challenger Robert Shwartzman.
Notably, Zhou Guanyu finished third in the standings but managed to secure a seat with Alfa Romeo as a driver for the 2022 F1 season.
What was Oscar Piastri’s role at Alpine?
Despite coming off a dominant championship victory in F2 the year prior, Piastri did not find a spot on the F1 starting grid in 2022.
Instead, he was handed the role of Alpine’s reserve driver.
As an existing member of the Alpine Driver Academy, it was a logical fit for the young Australian.
He was on hand to step in for either of the team’s full-time drivers - Fernando Alonso or Esteban Ocon - in case they were unable to race on a given weekend.
He also travelled with the team to each race, where he would sit in on driver meetings and be active in the team garage.
Piastri was not required to fill in during the 2022 season and stopped travelling with Alpine entirely following the confirmation of his new contract with McLaren for 2023.
Why did Oscar Piastri replace Daniel Ricciardo?
Piastri was given a baptism by fire into the dramatic world of F1, faced with a controversial and complicated contractual situation.
In August last year, Piastri was initially announced as an Alpine driver following Fernando Alonso’s decision not to extend his contract and head to Aston Martin in 2023.
This was publicly disputed by the Australian.
“I understand that, without my agreement, Alpine F1 have put out a press release late this afternoon that I am driving for them next year,” Piastri wrote on social media.
“This is wrong and I have not signed a contract with Alpine for 2023. I will not be driving for Alpine next year.”
Alpine took the matter to the Contract Recognition Board, arguing they already had a valid contract in place with Piastri.
However, McLaren were deemed to have secured a legal contract with Piastri, and were able to lock in their newest driver for 2023.
He replaces fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who mutually agreed to cut his three-year contract short with McLaren amid the debacle.
Who is Oscar Piastri’s manager?
Piastri is managed by fellow Australian and former F1 driver Mark Webber.
Webber is one of the founders of JAM Sports Management, which he runs alongside his partner Ann.