PREMA’s Australian ace snatched pole and a win on his F2 virtual racing debut last Sunday in the fourth and final round. On the challenging Baku City Circuit, Piastri outclassed the rest of the field, crossing the line a clear 10s from closest rival Lirim Zendeli. We caught up with Renault’s protégé.
FIA F3: Congratulations Oscar. What a debut! You made it look really easy. How was it from the sim?
Oscar Piastri: Yeah it was a really good debut. Obviously, it couldn’t have started better with pole position and feature race win. It was good fun in the sim. Keeping out of the walls was the key, I think. It’s very easy to make a mistake. I kept it clean and kept consistent.
FIA F3: Were you expecting to be this dominant?
Oscar: I definitely did not expect to be as quick as I was. I saw in the time towers that Lirim (Zendeli) was a fair bit quicker than me in qualifying so I thought I was going to be around the mid-pack but after that, I thought “well actually I’m not too bad actually”. The race could not have gone much better really. I put in a decent amount of practice over the week. I had not played the F1 game before last weekend so I had to get up to speed. Doing practice for the F1 race as well sort of meant that I was gaining track knowledge throughout the week.
FIA F3: The Sprint Race was quite different. Can you tell us what happened?
Oscar: I think I tried to pass one of the HWA cars at the start and he sort of went to a half spin and I was behind him so had nowhere to go. I think on the camera it looks really bad because it looks like we crashed into each other, but he was already sort of spinning. After Turn 2, there was another crash that I was involved in so I did a 360 down the straight. It was a bit of a mess!
FIA F3: Obviously, now we turn to real racing. You will be back in your F3 car. How have you prepared and what is still to be done before Round 1?
Oscar: I’m really looking forward to jumping into a real car! Over the last few months, I have just been training physically, making sure I’m fit for when the season starts. Obviously, there’s still some work to do, pre-race briefings to go over when I go to PREMA’s. It’s the usual pre-race stuff that we need to go through.
FIA F3: It will be a pretty intense summer with 8 rounds in a matter of 10 weeks. How much of a challenge will that be?
Oscar: I think it will be a pretty big challenge for everyone. Eight rounds in ten weeks is going to be pretty challenging and very unique. I don’t think anyone’s really gone into a season that intense, except maybe in karting, but certainly not in the last three or four years. So, it’s going to be very interesting. If you can start in a positive manner then you can build confidence early on. But if you’re not feeling too great at the beginning, there won’t be any time to digest everything. You’re going to have to be on it from Day 1, and hopefully we will.
FIA F3: Do you have a message for the fans?
Oscar: I think the racing once it gets going again is going to be very entertaining. No one has really driven anything for the last 3 months and in terms of F2 and F3 we’ve had only 3 test days back in March. I’m expecting a bit of carnage to be honest (laughs). Hopefully no one takes their virtual racing into the real world… But I think there’s going to be a lot of unpredictability. Obviously, some people are going to adapt to being out of the car for so long better than others. You’re going to see quite a few mistakes from everyone, more than usual. I think it’s going to be quite exciting to watch, even if you’re not at the races. On TV, it’s going to be a pretty awesome year. When it gets going, it’s going to be eigh races in ten weeks so there will be no shortage of racing for the next few months!