Piastri unsure Ricciardo wanted to hear from him amid F1 contract situation

Oscar Piastri admits he was not sure if Daniel Ricciardo wanted to hear from him, prior to his fellow Australian phoning him to speak about their Formula 1 situation.

Piastri unsure Ricciardo wanted to hear from him amid F1 contract situation

McLaren's decision to swoop for Piastri earlier this summer helped trigger the exit of Ricciardo from the Woking-based squad, with his F1 future now uncertain.

That scenario could have led to a lot of awkwardness between the pair as their shared nationality added an extra edge to the driver market movements of the summer.

But in a bid to ensure that there was no chance of tensions emerging, Ricciardo revealed that he spoke to Piastri and his manager Mark Webber after the summer break to clear things up.

Piastri has revealed that the call from Ricciardo was very much welcomed, as he had been a bit nervous beforehand about whether or not there would be problems between them.

Speaking to the official Australian Grand Prix podcast In the Fast Lane, Piastri opened up on the importance of Ricciardo being the first to make the move.

"I was planning on getting in touch myself, but with the timing of things, he was obviously at races, quite frankly I didn't know if he wanted to hear from me," Piastri said.

"I was trying to think of what to say, but he beat me to it. That was a true professional, my respect for him was already extremely high and it's only got higher in the way he's responded.

"Him getting in touch like that, that was great for me personally, knowing that there were no hard feelings. That really helps me quite a lot, and it was good to get in touch."

He added: "It was a nice moment. If I can get close to emulating the success he's had on track and the character he is off the track, I think I'll be doing a reasonable job."

While Piastri's switch to McLaren is now set in stone, he does not yet know when he will get his first run for his new team.

He still remains under contract at Alpine, even though he has been stood down from official duties with the team at grand prix events.

Oscar Piastri, Reserve Driver, Alpine F1 Team

Oscar Piastri, Reserve Driver, Alpine F1 Team

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Discussions are ongoing about Piastri potentially being released early from the contract, which could allow him an early chance to drive for McLaren in an FP1 session.

However, nothing has been settled on this front which leaves him uncertain of when his first McLaren outing will be.

"I'm not sure yet and we don't know," he said. "It's obviously something we're discussing with Alpine at the moment. But yeah, as of right now, I don't know when, or what the rest of the year holds."

Choosing number 81

Piastri has also confirmed that he will be racing with number 81 at McLaren next season.

Explaining the background to his choice, Piastri has revealed that it was all triggered by him having very limited options when he first started out.

"So 81 was the number I had in karting," he said. "The story of how I got 81 is not particularly interesting, but I'll explain it anyway.

"Basically, when I did my first race, I had to pick a number for my first race and the kart shop I went to only had number ones in stock. It had to be a one or two-digit number and I obviously couldn't be number one for obvious reasons. So I was actually number 11, for my first couple of races.

"Then we entered, I think it was the Victorian state titles, and somebody had already entered as number 11. So I don't know what inspired me to pick 81. But I changed the first one for a number eight, and it's stuck ever since."

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