Oscar Piastri’s success with Prema leaves ‘slight’ doubts about the potential of Formula 1: PlanetF1

A respected Formula 1 observer believes that Oscar Piastri’s success in the junior categories with Prema leaves little doubt as to his true potential.

Piastri will make his F1 debut in 2023 after being signed by McLaren to replace fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who was dropped by the team after two disappointing seasons alongside Lando Norris.

The former Alpine protégé emerged as a future F1 superstar by winning back-to-back Formula 3 and Formula 2 titles in 2020 and 2021, but former Williams and Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor warned the reputation of the Prema team in junior racing is so good that drivers may be forced to look above their natural level.

Speaking via his Twitch stream, he said: “I suppose we all have to be excited about Oscar Piastri, just for what he has achieved in Formula 3 and Formula 2.

“He succeeded with Prema, so you always have to have a little thing there – ‘reached with Prema’ different than ‘reached with MP Motorsport or DAMS or Carlin’ because Prema is so good.

“If you are the number one driver in Prema, it’s a good trip.

“So that’s first and second, he had the audacity to turn down an entire Alpine Formula 1 race. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s what they did and if you do that you have great self-confidence.

“And so now he’s in a McLaren and, together with Lando Norris, I’ll be fascinated to see how he fares.”

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Windsor drew comparisons between Piastri’s path to an F1 seat and that of Ayrton Senna, revealing that the Brazilian legend made a conscious decision to start his career with a small team.

He added: “I was lucky enough to be at the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix, Ayrton Senna’s first Formula 1 race, and I followed Ayrton throughout that weekend – I even drove off the track with him one day, went out with him – and he was just brilliant.

“He was absolutely perfect in everything he did: the setup of the Toleman; whenever there was a problem with the car, he was patient, he was calm, he helped the mechanics and got exactly the right lap time and performance out of the car given Toleman’s grid position. He was brilliant.

“So I have to say this is Piastri’s level of expectation because here is a guy who said no to Alpine and is going with McLaren.

“In a way it’s kind of a counterpoint to Ayrton because Ayrton wanted to start with a small team and grow with that team and then, after a year, maybe switch to a Lotus or a Williams or wherever, whereas Piastri doesn’t.

“Had he come in as a rookie driver alongside Esteban Ocon at Alpine, there’s a little less attention on him and a little less pressure than he now has at McLaren, where he’s up there alongside Lando Norris after having refused the Alpine.

“So he’s putting enormous pressure on himself, which Ayrton Senna has never done. But assuming he’s the next Ayrton Senna, which is what a lot of people tell us, then it will be interesting to see how he fares.

“And it’s interesting to see how Lando handles that as well, really interesting.

“Personally, I think Lando is exceptionally good and I think he won’t have any issues with Piastri, but given everything that has happened over the last nine months with Piastri you have to say this guy is incredibly confident and his abilities come in and be an Ayrton Senna. because he rejected Alpine.


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