F1’s breakthrough star has inspired Red Bull with junior approach

Oscar Piastri’s impressive rookie F1 season was the “best example” of what a young driver can achieve with the right preparation ahead of their grand prix debut, AlphaTauri’s CEO believes. 
Liam Lawson (NZL) AlphaTauri AT04. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar, Sprint Day.
Liam Lawson (NZL) AlphaTauri AT04. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18,…

Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri had been known for several years as being something of a training ground for Red Bull’s junior drivers, but that has shifted amid a recent push to focus on delivering better results. 

With a major rebrand coming ahead of the 2024 season, AlphaTauri will field the experienced Daniel Ricciardo alongside Yuki Tsunoda, who is set to embark on his fourth F1 season. 

But Piastri’s maiden F1 campaign has caught the attention of McLaren’s rivals, with AlphaTauri CEO Peter Bayer acknowledging the young Australian’s smooth transition to F1 has been a source of inspiration. 

Bayer suggested securing extra testing time for Red Bull’s young drivers will be a priority in the future, with the likes of current reserve Liam Lawson, and F2 duo Isack Hadjar and Ayumu Iwasa all looking to forge a pathway onto the F1 grid. 

“That's another new area for us next year,” Bayer was quoted by Motorsport. “We want to take some of the money we're making currently to make sure we can prepare the young drivers in the best possible way.

“And I think Oscar Piastri is the best example. He ran I don't know how many hundreds or thousands of miles [with Alpine], but he came in and he understood the car. He understood the dynamics, he understood the switches, and it makes such a big difference, and so it connects you fully.

“And we have a big programme actually for Liam and Isack [Hadjar] and potentially [Ayumu] Iwasa, and we want to make sure that we run them as much as possible also. It's interesting that the previous car is a '22 car, so it's finally a relevant car.”

Oscar Piastri (AUS) McLaren at a team photograph. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina
Oscar Piastri (AUS) McLaren at a team photograph. Formula 1 World…

Bayer admitted Lawson’s cameo’s for AlphaTauri as a stand-in for the injured Ricciardo last year underlined the amount of support and coaching that is required for a rookie to get up to speed in modern F1 machinery. 

“I understood that the moment we put a young driver into the car, because what's happening is it's actually a change of flow of information, whilst with an experienced driver like Daniel it's him feeding the engineer, who is feeding the operations room, who are then again coming back with stuff,” he added. 

“With a young driver it's coming from the ops room to the engineers to the pitwall to the driver. ‘Constantly watch out in that corner. Now make sure you get the toggles right’, or ‘brake later, brake earlier, watch the steering, watch your rear, watch engine braking. Oh, by the way, there's someone coming from behind.’

“Honestly, it's like in a theatre, the guy's like bu-bu-bu-bu-bub all the time. While with Daniel it's quiet. And once a lap, he will come back and say, ‘guys, an issue with the rear, can you have a look?’ ’Oh, yeah, we see actually overheating, we can do something on the differential.’ And it's fixed.

“Or he will come back after three, four laps and say, ‘have you thought about changing the strategy? Because I'm stuck here in a DRS train, and rather than waiting, why don't you...?’ ‘Yeah, good idea!’

“You feel the difference. And then obviously the work we do with him in the simulator, vehicle performance, that whole area is a different ballgame.

“So one experienced driver who takes under his wings a young one. And even that young one needs to be prepared."

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