Oscar Piastri reveals Mark Webber’s advice before Suzuka debut

Piastri will race at Suzuka for the first time at this weekend's Japanese GP.

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Oscar Piastri has been told to prepare his neck for the vigorous demands of the Suzuka circuit by his manager, former Red Bull driver Mark Webber.

Ahead of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, Piastri is one of the few drivers on the current Formula 1 grid who have yet to drive at Suzuka in real life, despite plenty of prior experience of the circuit on simulators.

“Prepare your neck for sector one,” Piastri said, when asked what advice Webber had given him. “That was the first piece of advice, and obviously, there’s so many factors here. 

“The wind can play a massive role, especially in all the high-speed corners it’s a long race, a lot of corners where you put a lot of energy through the tyres. 

“It’s a circuit I’ve heard plenty of things about and watched a lot growing up in Australia. This was one of the races that was actually quite [time] friendly for me to watch. 

“On video games and simulators, It’s always been a fun track. So looking forward to getting out there tomorrow.”

New deal

On Wednesday, Piastri announced he would stay at McLaren until 2026 after an impressive debut season, which has seen him finish second in the Belgian GP Sprint and fourth in the British GP.

It’s a stark contrast to 2022, when Piastri was in a contractual dispute with former employers Alpine after sensationally rejecting the team’s offer of a drive in 2023 to go to McLaren in place of Daniel Ricciardo.

“Yeah, obviously very happy to have that announced already,” told Piastri. “I was already around for next year, but to announce it for the end of 2026 is very exciting.

“It’s always nice to have a sense of security, and yeah, I think for me, it made sense from my point of view and from a team point of view as well. 

“So yeah, just that longevity and continuation to this [partnership is] nice confidence for us all.”

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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