Feature

Remote control cars, lifelike dolls and flying to the moon – Getting to know the real Oscar Piastri

Staff Writer

Mike Seymour
Share

Think you know Oscar Piastri? Think again. After we put Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyu and Daniel Ricciardo through their paces, it was the young Australian’s turn to experience our unusual quickfire interview. From driving test skills to the F1 legends who would make his ultimate F1 team, and unexpected gifts to dreams of spending a day as an astronaut, he lifts the lid on all of these topics and more...

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Describe myself in three words… I would say relaxed, calculating and chilled!

What made you fall in love with F1?

Firstly, the noise. When I grew up the cars were obviously sounding a bit different to what they do now, so I loved that. But in terms of actually driving, myself, I just really like driving anything! So, that’s where the kind of passion for it came. I just liked motorsport in general, as opposed to purely F1. But yeah, I just enjoy driving cars!

READ MORE: Parallel parking, farming goals and a bromance with Lando Norris – Getting to know the real Daniel Ricciardo

When and where did you first drive something?

So, the first time I would have driven anything would have been when I was about seven or eight. I used to race remote control cars from when I was about six, but they don’t work very well when it rains! I think actually it was raining, the RC car race got cancelled, so my dad [asked] if I wanted to go to a rental karting place. I went there a few times when it was raining – it was indoors, so it was alright – and then it kind of went from there and I got my own.

How many times did it take you to pass your driving test?

Just one! I did it first time. I feel like it’s kind of embarrassing if you don’t get it first time as a racing driver, but I was good, I was first time.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Oscar Piastri of Australia and McLaren F1signs autographs on the

Piastri has impressed many in the F1 paddock since debuting with McLaren last season

Was it faultless?

Not faultless… I had a few minor faults. One was for… I think I had to have… Not two attempts at parallel parking, but I had to straighten myself back up. There were a couple more but I can’t remember what they were anymore!

Who’s your best friend inside the paddock?

I would probably say Logan [Sargeant]. We’ve known each other for eight years now, raced against each other while we were team mates in F3, so I would say we know each other the best. I’m obviously getting to know Lando [Norris] better and better too. But I would probably say Logan.

BEYOND THE GRID: Oscar Piastri on chasing more F1 wins, being managed by Mark Webber and his McLaren future

And outside the paddock?

I don’t know – I’ve got a few good friends!

Which three F1 personalities past or present would you invite to a dinner party and why?

I would say [Ayrton] Senna, I would probably say [Michael] Schumacher as well, two people I’ve not had the chance to meet. And the third… I would say Zak Brown, just to see how we could rip into him!

Who would be part of your all-time F1 dream team? So that’s two drivers and a team boss...

Ooh. So, any two drivers… Can I choose myself?

piastri-sargeant-f3-2020.png

Piastri and Sargeant were F3 team mates in 2020, with the former winning the title

If you want to!

I’m going to choose myself, because why wouldn’t you choose yourself? And Senna. And team boss… I would choose Andrea [Stella], honestly.

We’ve had some very interesting answers to this next question… If you could form an F1 band, who would be involved and what would it be called?

I’d definitely get Charles [Leclerc] involved somehow, because he’s pretty good on the piano. I feel like Danny [Ricciardo] would be a dark horse somewhere. I don’t know who else. I don’t know how many people you need for a band. I’d have Charles on the piano, or keyboard, I feel like Danny Ric plays guitar or something like that. Drums… I see Yuki [Tsunoda] playing drums. Singer…

READ MORE: Fashion, tigers and Alonso’s words of wisdom – Getting to know the real Zhou Guanyu

Have you heard Lando sing?

I don’t think I have heard Lando sing and that’s probably for the best! Who would I choose as a singer? Lewis [Hamilton], because he actually has sung.

What about a name?

I have no idea what I would call the band – no idea!

What’s your ultimate meal? That’s a starter, main, dessert and drink…

Drink, I would probably say Sprite. Starter, prosciutto and mozzarella is hard to go past. Main, probably penne bolognese. And dessert, like a chocolate fondant or chocolate souffle, one of those.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 09: Oscar Piastri of Australia driving the (81) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on

Piastri is in his second F1 season with McLaren after a stellar rookie campaign

Do you enjoy going around the world and tasting different dishes?

Yeah, I do. I’d kind of eat anything. Italian food is my favourite, but I like Japanese, I quite like Chinese, Mexican… Australian is kind of just a mix of everything, just done to a very high standard. I would say that’s my three-course meal.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, and what’s the worst advice you’ve ever received?

Good question... There’s been a few good pieces. Honestly one that is very straightforward and not particularly philosophical, but ‘keep it simple, stupid’. It can be very often overlooked as to how valuable that can be. Worst advice? Probably send it into Turn 1! Something along those lines.

READ MORE: Training, simulator sessions and the snooze button – Oscar Piastri details a day in the life of an F1 driver

What’s the strangest gift you’ve ever been given by a fan?

Err… It feels a bit harsh calling this strange, but I would say unexpected… I got like a doll of myself in Japan. It was actually very cool, a bit unexpected, I didn’t expect myself in like a doll form…

Was it a good resemblance?

Err… Close, ish! Strangest apart from that… That’s probably the strangest, to be honest!

Which other job do you wish you could try for a day?

I feel like being an astronaut for one day would be kind of cool. Just go to the moon, come back, cut out all the travel, because we do enough of that as F1 drivers. Being an astronaut for a day could be quite cool!

piastri-gift-fans.png

Piastri has received plenty of gifts from fans around the world, including a handmade doll

Try and squeeze that in somewhere during the season…

Yeah… A little trip to the moon and back!

What’s your proudest moment in F1 so far? A season and a quarter in…

Proudest moment… Definitely winning the Qatar Sprint race. That was a very cool weekend in general.

READ MORE: Traffic lights, tacos and moustaches – Getting to know the real Yuki Tsunoda

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the sport?

I think the advice would be firstly enjoy it. I think if you’re not enjoying it at the start, you’re not going to enjoy it towards the end. I think that’s the first thing, make sure you’re doing it because you love it. Secondly, always keep trying to learn. I think there’s no such thing as a perfect driver, perfect lap or perfect car, so you’re always, constantly trying to get as close as you can to that.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time? Fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo mentioned getting a championship in the bag and spending more time on his farm…

In five years’ time… Ideally five world championships would be good! I don’t know, honestly. I think winning a world championship would be very cool, and I hope I’m not on a farm, I hope I’m still in F1!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Coming Up

Coming Up

News

What time is the Formula 1 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix and how can I watch it?