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Oscar Piastri

Webber: Piastri absence 'killed me' before McLaren deal

Oscar Piastri joined McLaren for the current campaign after spending several years with the Alpine Formula 1 academy.

Piastri Qatar
To news overview © XPBimages

Oscar Piastri's manager Mark Webber has given further insight into the Australian's departure from Alpine last year.

Piastri, who is currently enjoying his rookie Formula 1 season with McLaren, had his future decided by the Contract Recognition Board (CRB) as both teams claimed they had a valid contract in place.

RacingNews365 exclusively revealed that the CRB ruled in favour of McLaren, with Piastri negotiating with the Woking-based squad while carrying out reserve driver duties for Alpine.

Piastri had been part of the Alpine Academy for several years but chose to depart for McLaren when the opportunity to replace Daniel Ricciardo arose.

“It was the only choice we had,” Webber told Viaplay.

“It wasn’t too comforting for us last year knowing where he could end up. I was extremely nervous and frustrated that he did not race last year.

“We see what we missed. To have a guy like that not racing was a travesty and was killing me inside.

“McLaren was brilliant, right from the top. The shareholders, all the way through to make sure they got him. Now they’ve got two phenomenal drivers.”

Last time out in Qatar, Piastri had a successful weekend by taking the Sprint Shootout pole and converting it into a win before securing his second career podium in the Grand Prix.

While admitting that there are areas that Piastri needs to improve, Webber stated that the 22-year-old has shown impressive qualities this year.

"Oscar started from pole position in the sprint race," Webber reflected.

“It was a good qualifying, it wasn’t easy to put the lap together here. We saw a lot of people doing track limits and running wide. But he kept a cool head.

“In the sprint race afterwards, he had to handle restarts with different compounds around. I'm proud of him and the team.”

"I think [his strengths] is a combination of his adaptability, he’s very versatile. We’ve seen already this year, as a rookie there’s been a lot of wet weekends and a lot of disruptions.

“You can see that Oscar was strong on street circuits, he was strong at Spa in the rain. He’s going well at hot circuits.

“We do have some work to do when it comes to race pace, but qualifying has been a good step forward.”


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