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Autosport Top 50 of 2023: #26 Oscar Piastri

9th in the Formula 1 World Championship

Top 50 2023 dotcom26

Top 50 Drivers of 2023

Autosport's team of expert journalists got together to try to assess who were the top 50 drivers of 2023. Here are the results.

Second in qualifying at Suzuka of all places – the first time Oscar Piastri had visited the fearsome track – summed up why McLaren was so impressed with the rookie, who scored two podiums (and should have had another at Silverstone but for a safety car) and that excellent win in the entertaining Qatar sprint.  

A tyre management weakness compared to Lando Norris stood out as an area he’ll need to improve in 2024, but McLaren reckoned Norris had made a particular step in this area this year via dedicated simulator sessions. Perhaps something similar can be expected of Piastri as he continues to accumulate experience on F1’s tricky Pirellis.

Andrea Stella on Oscar Piastri 

"[For both McLaren drivers] I think their achievements have been absolutely remarkable. But they are in a different stage of their journey.   

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"Oscar was a rookie driver in Formula 1 competition, which is where the best drivers in the world participate. And you see [his quality] in the fact that in tracks in which Oscar had a certain familiarity – in tracks in which Oscar could do P1-P2-P3 sessions and the full draw – he was very competitive.   

Adapting so quickly to Suzuka was one of Piastri's highlights in 2023

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Adapting so quickly to Suzuka was one of Piastri's highlights in 2023

"But in tracks in which he had never been before, [where] you only do a P1 and then you go and do a sprint, then you can see that the level you need to achieve to be very competitive is very high. So, we are extremely pleased with the level of performance that Oscar has been able to deliver once he had a fair amount of practice, which most of the time just means three hours before you go into qualifying.   

"And, in a track like Suzuka, he put it in P2 on the grid. Like, we really need to reflect for a second on the extent of this result. A track like Suzuka – not only is it high-speed, but it’s a very narrow track, it’s a very unforgiving track as soon as you go too wide because you have the gravel in some places.   

"The way he keeps himself calm, and controlled – therefore always capitalising on his potential because he doesn’t create any unnecessary stress. That’s quite exceptional" Andrea Stella

"In terms of Oscar’s 2023 speed, in terms of capacity to learn very rapidly, in terms of collaborating with his engineers and extracting the information that he needs to grow so rapidly, in terms of his own awareness of where he is in the various stages to go from like, ‘I know nothing about this track, first time in a Formula 1 car’ [to end up] being P2 on the grid.   

"And also, as he does so [is impressive]. The way he keeps himself calm, and controlled – therefore always capitalising on his potential because he doesn’t create any unnecessary stress. That’s quite exceptional. And I can see why he was so successful in junior categories." 

 
Piastri won the Qatar F1 Sprint. What further success awaits around the corner?

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Piastri won the Qatar F1 Sprint. What further success awaits around the corner?

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