Oscar Piastri says it was an “eye-opening” experience to work alongside Fernando Alonso throughout the 2022 Formula 1 season.
Piastri held the reserve driver role at the Alpine squad last year, while Alonso raced full-time alongside Esteban Ocon.
However, both have departed the Enstone-based team for the 2023 campaign, with Alonso switching to Aston Martin while Piastri will conduct his rookie season with McLaren.
Alonso is currently listed as the most experienced driver in F1 history and Piastri holds the unique statistic of being the first full-time F1 driver to be born after the Spaniard’s F1 debut in 2001.
When asked if there was anyone on the grid that he looks up to, Piastri replied: “I think for me there’s not really like one specific driver.
“I think working alongside Fernando for part of last year was an eye-opening experience.
“And obviously he was someone that I watched growing up.”
Piastri also highlighted seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, with the Briton having his run of success while Piastri came through the racing ranks.
“I think Lewis is also another one,” he said. “I’ve watched his success throughout my junior career. It’s going to be pretty special to go up against guys like that.
“But, I think as a racing driver, it’s gonna be, once the helmet goes on, everyone else’s just another driver. But definitely it’s going to be pretty cool to race against some of these childhood heroes.”
Piastri’s 2022 role on the sidelines came about after he won the Formula 2 title the year before.
The Australian was named as an Alpine driver for the 2023 campaign after Alonso’s switch to Aston Martin was confirmed, but it soon became apparent that Piastri had not agreed to a drive with Alpine.
After his future was sorted by the Contract Recognition Board, Piastri began preparing for his debut F1 season, making his McLaren debut at the post-season test in Abu Dhabi last year.
With it being some time since he’s raced competitively, the 21-year-old says going wheel-to-wheel with other drivers once again is what he’s looking forward to the most.
“Quite simply [I’m looking forward to] just going racing again,” he said. “It’s been nearly 18 months since I last raced now.
“So just getting back out on track and doing what I love is the most exciting part for me and also being able to say my job is an F1 driver.
“It’s pretty cool line to be able to say. It’s just really cool for me and really exciting to sort of achieve the childhood dream.
“So just getting back out there, going racing, being able to race other people again, that’s what I’m mainly looking forward to. And yeah, just being able to call myself a Formula 1 driver.”
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