Oscar Piastri excited for Formula One Australian Grand Prix

The hometown hero is joined by Daniel Ricciardo to make it two Aussies on the grid for the first time in more than a decade.

Melbourne’s own Oscar Piastri is pumped for his return to Albert Park for the 2024 Formula One Australian Grand Prix next weekend, 21-24 March.

The 22-year-old McLaren driver comes off the back of one of the most impressive rookie seasons in Formula One, including a maiden pole position and win in the shorter Sprint races – and strong performances in the Grands Prix on Sundays.

He earned his first F1 career points with an eighth-place finish at last year’s Albert Park race – his first time at his home track and only his third Formula One Grand Prix.

“It was a pretty crazy race last year but to score my first-ever F1 points in front of a home crowd will stay with me for a long time,” Piastri said in a media statement.

“It is such a special event for me. Not only is it my home country but to have grown up so close to the track and coming back to my hometown is awesome.”

This year’s Australian Grand Prix will be the 28th at Albert Park, with a record crowd of 443,631 across the four-day 2023 event.

“Even on a Thursday, there are so many people in the grounds and getting involved that it has a festival feel,” Piastri said.

“As drivers, we do feel that. We aren’t able to get out to every part of the circuit but that passion is felt and makes a huge difference.”

Making it two Australians on the grid will be the return of Western Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo, driving for the newly-named Visa Cash App RB team – known last year as AlphaTauri – the ‘sister’ team to the championship-winning Red Bull Racing squad.

Ricciardo was absent from the 2023 Albert Park race after a lacklustre two years at McLaren – losing his drive at the team to Piastri at the end of 2022.

The 34-year-old rejoined the grid mid-last season but suffered misfortune again with a crash in practice for the Dutch Grand Prix in August, sidelining him with a wrist injury for five of the last seven races of 2023.

He is tipped as a potential replacement for Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez if he can impress this season – though his performances in 2024 so far have been mixed.

The Western Australian is one of a pool of Red Bull drivers who may find themselves driving the 2000hp electric Ford SuperVan in demonstration runs at Albert Park.

Ford used Ricciardo at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix to announce plans to sell the electric Mustang Mach-E in Australia, after confirming a technical partnership with Red Bull from the 2026 season.

On track, last year’s Australian Grand Prix winner and 2023 world champion Max Verstappen – who drives for Red Bull Racing – has comfortably won the first two races of the 2024 season.

The Dutch driver won a record 19 races – including seven consecutively – from 23 races last year, with team-mate Perez adding three victories to see a dominant Red Bull beaten only once all year.

The off-season also saw the shock move of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton – who has spent his entire 17 F1 seasons in a Mercedes-powered car – announcing a move to Ferrari for 2025.

The full schedule for the 2024 Formula One Australian Grand Prix can be found here.

The post Oscar Piastri excited for Formula One Australian Grand Prix appeared first on Drive.

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