Oscar Piastri in the pit lane at Silverstone

The Rise of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri

When Oscar Piastri first broke out onto the single seater racing scene in 2016 in Formula 4, it wasn’t long until he took his first championship title in Formula Renault Eurocup three years later with R-ace GP. From his first moment on the race track in single seaters, it was no secret that the Melbourne born and raised driver was going to climb the motorsport ladder and go all the way to the top.

Oscar’s family have been involved with motorsport for many years, whether it be as a fan or working with cars as mechanics, so his entrance – and successes – in racing come as no surprise.


First exposed to the concept of motorsport through racing remote controlled cars in his early childhood, Oscar set foot in a go-kart for the first time when one of his dad’s friends offered him to have a go in his daughter’s kart. Within the next week, Oscar had his own kart, and the rest is history.

His first karting race came when he was 10 years old, after winning a remote control car national championship when he was nine. His progression to karting after his experience in the remote control sphere came naturally, with people involved in the championship telling his dad to let him try karting – the real thing – and see how good he was at that.

Oscar officially began his karting career in Australia in 2011, and in 2014, he went professional and competed in one karting championship and multiple one-off races across his home country. In 2015, Oscar joined Ricky Flynn Motorsport to compete in a variety of European and CIK-FIA karting championships before moving to the UK full-time to further his racing career.

It was in 2016 that Oscar made his single seater debut. He competed in selected rounds of the Formula 4 UAE Championship with Dragon F4 and finished sixth overall in his first single seater championship. With the TRS Arden Junior Racing Team, now known as Arden International – a team who have had stints racing in the FIA F2 series on the Formula 1 feeder series ladder – Oscar competed in British F4, finishing the season as runner up in 2017.

Oscar spent two years racing across Europe in the Formula Renault Eurocup Championship – first, staying with Arden in 2018 before moving to R-ace GP for the 2019 season.

He claimed his first two wins in the series here at Silverstone across the second round of the 2019 season. A successful season in Formula Renault Eurocup took Oscar to the championship win, after seven wins and multiple other podium finishes, accumulating 320 points throughout the year. His win in Formula Renault Eurocup secured him a spot in the Renault Sport Academy, now the Alpine Academy.

2020 was the year which saw Oscar make the move to the Formula 1 feeder series ladder, making his FIA Formula 3 debut with reigning Team Champions, PREMA Racing. A win at the opening round at the Red Bull Ring set the season off in good stead, and Oscar took five more podiums in 2020, including another win in Barcelona. Although he finished in P7 at the final round of the season in Mugello – which would be the title-deciding race – Oscar won the 2020 FIA F3 Championship and PREMA became Team Champions once again. His Championship win saw him promoted to the FIA Formula 2 Championship, staying with PREMA for another year.

Oscar’s FIA F2 season with PREMA saw him take six wins, three second place finishes and two third place finishes to seal a consecutive Championship win with a total of 252.5 points. He secured the title at the final round in Abu Dhabi, but with two races – a Sprint and Feature – left to go. As a result of his strong performance this season, Oscar was awarded the Anthoine Hubert Award for best rookie driver.

With his titles in Formula Renault Eurocup, FIA Formula 3 and now FIA Formula 2, Oscar became the first driver to win three consecutive championships across the F1 feeder series ladder. 

After graduating from F2 as Champion, Oscar spent a year on the side-lines as Reserve Driver with the Alpine F1 Team, and was also made available to McLaren as their Reserve Driver, as part of an agreement between the two teams. It was expected that Oscar would join Alpine full-time in 2023 as one of their drivers, however, after a dramatic silly season period during the 2022 summer break, and a contract dispute overseen by the Contract Recognition Board (CRB), McLaren announced that Oscar would join their line-up for 2023, alongside Lando Norris.

McLaren started the 2023 season with struggles on both sides of the garage, with unpromising results for the drivers and team overall. However, the team’s upgrade package was welcomed onto Lando Norris’ car with open arms at the Austrian Grand Prix. The following round – the British Grand Prix at Silverstone – saw both Lando and Oscar take onboard the new updates. McLaren had a rocketship.

It was at Silverstone that Oscar’s season really pivoted, and he was thrown onto a rollercoaster filled with success.

Oscar qualified in P3 behind Lando for the British Grand Prix, and only just missed out on his first ever F1 podium, finishing P4 behind Sir Lewis Hamilton. His upward streak continued leading up to the summer break, securing a P3 grid spot for the Hungarian Grand Prix, where again, he finished fourth.

However, on Formula 1’s return to business after the summer break at the iconic Spa Francorchamps in Belgium – another Sprint weekend in 2023 – Oscar qualified in P2 for the Sprint and maintained that position throughout the race, taking his first podium finish in an F1 race. Still successful in the Belgian Grand Prix with a top-10 finish, Oscar qualified in P5 for the weekend’s main event, but unfortunately, had to retire after colliding with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and collecting damage in turn one of the first lap.

Oscar Piastri on the track in his mclaren at Silverstone

Fast forward to the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, where McLaren secured their first double podium of the season. Lando took P2, whilst Oscar stepped onto his first ever Grand Prix podium. The Qatar Grand Prix – another Sprint weekend – saw the young Aussie secure the front spot on the grid for the Sprint Race. The same Sprint in which Oscar stood on the top step of the podium for the first time. On the Sunday in Qatar, McLaren bagged another double podium, this time with their drivers swapped; Oscar took P2 and Lando took P2. All of this in the young Aussie's rookie Season in Formula 1.

He is the first rookie since Sir Lewis Hamilton in 2007 to earn more than one podium throughout their rookie year, and overall, he ended the season with 97 points, sitting P9 in the championship standings.

With McLaren on a stellar upwards trajectory, everyone is looking ahead to 2024 to see what the Surrey-based outfit can produce, and just when their first win – for either Lando or Oscar – will come.