Oscar Piastri Just Got One Step Closer To His Formula 1 Debut

Oscar Piastri Williams F1 McLaren F1 Debut

In the midst of crisis comes opportunity. And in light of Daniel Ricciardo succumbing to COVID-19, fellow Aussie young gun Oscar Piastri may finally get his well-deserved debut in Formula 1 as a McLaren reserve driver (a la Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix).

I know what you’re thinking. How can this be? Piastri’s signed to Renault. Isn’t he already serving as an understudy to two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon over at Alpine F1? Well, following a lengthy period of negotiations between the French team and McLaren, an agreement has been reached to allow the sharing of grid talent – which includes the consecutive Formula 3 and Formula 2 champion in question. As per the official statement from Alpine F1:

“In the spirit of offering maximum racing opportunities to our stable of young talent, we have agreed that McLaren may call upon BWT Alpine F1 Team Reserve Driver Oscar Piastri in the event one of their drivers is unable to race.”

“Oscar Piastri will remain fully contracted to Alpine and we will retain first options on his services,” adds McLaren.

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It should be clarified that the latest development hasn’t occurred in reaction to Daniel Ricciardo’s absence from pre-season testing in Bahrain. The timing has simply been quite fortuitous. Reports indicate the Honey Badger is currently on the mend and expected to return for the season opener, but should he remain positive for the spicy cough after the mandatory isolation period (March 17th), Oscar Piastri could very well be competing against the big dogs for McLaren alongside Lando Norris.

“I expect Daniel to be back in good shape next week,” says McLaren F1 Team Principal Andreas Seidl.

“He’s feeling better already but, as we know, it simply takes a few days until you are fully back in good shape.”

“I’m really excited to see the likes of Oscar [Piastri] do well,” Daniel Ricciardo previously noted of his compatriot.

“And I think he’s really been on… really good racecraft… the whole package right now.”

“He didn’t just win the F2 title – he dominated.”

In addition to Oscar Piastri, McLaren F1 also has the option to tap Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries – reserve drivers for power unit supplier Mercedes – as well as former Force India driver Scot Paul di Resta to fill in for Daniel Ricciardo.