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How Piastri blunted the racing 'rustiness' in year away

Piastri was forced into taking a year out from racing in 2022 after winning the F2 title.

Oscar Piastri has revealed how he used sim racing to blunt the effects of "rustiness" after his year out from racing ahead of his McLaren Formula 1 debut. Australian Piastri claimed the 2020 Formula 3 and 2021 Formula 2 titles but his Alpine squad could not find him a Grand Prix race seat for '22. The team then bungled his contract situation - as exclusively revealed by RacingNews365 - with a McLaren deal signed for 2023 and a race seat if Daniel Ricciardo left. Ricciardo did, meaning Piastri was promoted to race alongside Lando Norris in 2023 - and explained how he used online racing to keep his skills sharp during his year out, albeit with limited effects.

Piastri's sim racing

"It is tricky as there's obviously a lot of things that without going racing is pretty difficult to train for," Piastri explained when asked by RacingNews365 what training he had done outside go-karting and testing old-spec McLaren cars. "My physical preparation has been coming along well, trying to be as fit as possible without driving a race car very often. "Sim racing has been a little bit of an assistance, it is slightly different but it is really all I've had for the last 18 months now, so I've been using it a little bit here and there. "[I've also] been making sure, more than anything, that the things I can actually focus on and have an input in are really nailed, so that when I go into the season, I'm not trying to play catch-up on all fronts so it's just the going racing I need to spend more focus on."

With a record-equalling 23 races on the calendar, and six sprint events, Piastri, along with Logan Sargeant and Nyck de Vries, is facing the longest rookie season in F1. He admits that putting a time-frame on his adjustability to Grand Prix racing is a hard-task. "Putting a number on how many races it'll take is a hard task," he said. "In Bahrain, I'll have a good idea of where I am at, and coming into Formula 1 from any racing, there was always going to be a period of adaptation. "The cars are much faster and you're racing against the best drivers in the world, so regardless of whether I had a year off, it was always going to be a challenge. "In terms of against Lando, there's going to be some natural comparisons being in the same car, but we're at very different stages of our career. "Lando is entering his fifth year, I'm entering my first, so I'm not drawing on that too much, it's good to have him as a teammate and a good benchmark. "He's obviously established himself as a great driver in F1 - and I'm sure I'll be able to learn a lot from him."

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