Piastri admits that the decision to extend his Mclaren F1 contract early was a “no-brainer”

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Despite a remarkable rise in the junior series, including winning both F3 and F2 in his rookie seasons, Oscar Piastri’s Formula 1 seat remained uncertain. The chaotic summer 2022 driver market further tested his abilities during his inaugural F1 campaign.

Taking advantage of McLaren’s mid-season comeback in 2023, he managed to secure two podium finishes and a Sprint race win in Qatar.

In addition, Piastri was praised for his strong but measured approach when facing far more seasoned opponents, many noted that his performance was comparabale to Lewis Hamilton’s rookie season.

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing Media Centre

In an Autosport interview, Piastri expressed his desire to avoid controversies, stating:

“I’m very new to the sport, and especially in the first half of the year, I feel like I had enough controversy and headlines on my way into F1.

“I certainly wasn’t in a rush to cause any anymore, and I kind of just try and let my driving do the talking.”

He emphasized his focus on letting his driving speak for itself and, when asked about being underestimated by other drivers, responded:

“Not so much. Of course, there’s an element of respect and I guess racing people how you want to be raced in some ways. I guess I always try and race people hard, but fair.

“At the beginning of the season or beginning of your career, it’s always important to show it to people that you’re not a pushover because it’s not a nice thing to have.”

Throughout the season, the Australian driver maintained a low profile with the media and on team radios, attributing his level-headedness to a commitment to learning – and said it is pointless to be so vocal about your weaknesses to the media, like some current drivers on the grid:

I would say I’m very self-critical. For me, there’s just not any point, especially in self-deprecation, destroying yourself in front of the media. If you want to do that on your own, then sure.

“For me, just trying to find answers to things is the most important thing,”

“There’s been some difficult sessions, some difficult races. But, and I think this also comes across in my radio, there’s no point getting upset or emotional about things you can’t control.”

“It’s much better to try and fix things that you can control than just get upset about them. So, that’s always been my way of trying to tackle these things and just trying to keep a clear mind.”

“I don’t think I’m overly harsh or aggressive or anything like that,” he said.“In my junior career, a big element of my championships was from staying out of trouble and being consistent.”

“I think there’s definitely a good saying in that it’s sometimes more important to finish the race and be wrong in a situation than be right about something and be out of the race. “

“So, that’s kind of always an element I’ve tried to keep. But I just tried to race hard but fair.”

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing Media Centre

Piastri acknowledged his self-critical nature and the importance of finding answers in challenging situations. He emphasized the value of finishing races and staying consistent, reflecting on his junior career. In dealing with increased media attention and improving logistics, he sought advice from Mark Webber, drawing on Webber’s nine-time Grand Prix winner experience, he stated: “It’s mostly advice,” said Piastri.“His hindsight is my foresight in some ways. So, there’s been plenty of occasions, especially in the beginning of the year, where he’s come up with questions that haven’t even entered my mind.

“He’s just got that little bit of experience and added info that you can really learn a lot from and is useful. He’s still got a very keen eye for everything that I’m doing.”

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing Media Centre

Despite not leading the way when offered a lucrative contract extension until the end of 2026, Piastri felt at home with McLaren and found the decision to extend early to be a “no-brainer“:

“It was mostly from the team side of things, to be honest,” he revealed. “I knew I was already signed up [for 2024], but it was a pleasant surprise for everyone to have the conversation of the extension a year earlier than what it could have been.

“For us, it was a no-brainer to extend it early. The team’s been on an impressive trajectory, I felt very welcomed and very at home now. So, it was an easy decision on both sides, really.

“Certainly, no pressure from our side to get it done so early. But definitely a nice thing to put your mind at ease for even longer than it was.”