Oscar Piastri slams ’embarrassing’ F1 stewards in Austrian GP qualifying drama

The Australian made it clear he was unhappy with the FIA's decision to delete his lap time in qualifying for Sunday's Austrian GP.

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Oscar Piastri launched a scathing attack on the FIA stewards after the McLaren star had his lap time controversially deleted during qualifying for the Formula 1 2024 Austrian Grand Prix.

The 23-year-old, who finished second in the F1 Sprint race earlier on Saturday, looked to be on course for another start near the front of the grid after putting his car behind polesitter Max Verstappen and his team-mate Lando Norris.

However, Piastri was deemed to have exceeded track limits on his final flying lap at Turn 6 and Race Control moved to delete his lap time. After the lap was chalked off, the Australian dropped to seventh as his first run was reinstated, with McLaren set to launch an appeal against the decision.

Reacting to the news that he had dropped four places for Sunday’s race, Piastri – often a calm presence in the paddock – struggled to hide his frustration as he ripped into F1’s rule enforcers for their Austrian GP qualifying decision.

“For me it’s embarrassing [the decision to delete the lap],” Piastri said to Sky Sports F1. “We did all of this work for track limits, put gravel in places, and I didn’t even go off the track. I stayed on the track. It was probably my best Turn 6 and it gets deleted.

“I don’t know why they’ve spent hundreds of thousands [of euros] trying to change the last two corners when you still have corners you can go off. But, anyway, everyone else kept it in the track, I didn’t. That’s how it goes.”

Piastri loses out in Austrian GP qualifying

Organisers of the Austrian GP announced before the weekend they had spent a fortune on modifying the Red Bull Ring, with two new gravel traps inserted at Turns 10 and 11 to stop drivers trying to gain an advantage on the kerb.

But Piastri claimed Turn 6 – which already has a precarious gravel pit to the right of the kerb – shouldn’t be an issue for track limits.

“Again, we have spent so much effort trying to get rid of these problems. There is no reason this corner should be an issue for track limits, especially when you stay on the track, like I did, or not on the gravel,” Piastri added.

Oscar Piastri at the 2024 Austrian GP | McLaren F1 Team
Oscar Piastri at the 2024 Austrian GP | McLaren F1 Team

“Being the only one that has had that happen to me, I’m probably more vocal about it right now. But I think it’s embarrassing that you see us pushing right to the limit of what we can do and one centimetre more I’m in the gravel and completely ruining my lap anyway – and it gets deleted.”

Piastri gained some sympathy from Sky Sports F1 pundit Anthony Davidson, who questioned whether the McLaren driver had gone past the white line with all four tyres: “I’m still not massively convinced,” Davidson said after the session. “Maybe Race Control do have another view. They have CCTV that we don’t have access to, and the top-down shot.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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