Formula 1 legend Mark Webber has recognised the talent of one of Australia’s most promising young race drivers, Oscar Piastri, and will mentor the fast 18-year-old in his quest to reach F1. Piastri has also signed a contract with Jam Sports Management, the sports agency founded by Webber and his wife and manager Ann with respected sports and corporate CEO Jason Allen.
The nine-time Grand Prix winner will guide Piastri on and off the racetrack as well as representing the young charger’s interests in talks with teams and manufacturers. Ann Webber and Allen will focus on Piastri’s commercial opportunities.
UK-based for four years – half a world away from his family in Melbourne – Piastri has had to fit his hectic racing schedules in with schooling. Boarding at Haileybury, in Hertfordshire near London, he is in the final stages of his A-Levels – the UK’s equivalent to Australia’s VCE or HSC.
Last November, Piastri became the first Australian to win the Formula Renault Eurocup title, taking seven wins, 11 podiums, and five poles in the competitive 20-race season.
“Oscar is an impressive young man. I’ve enjoyed watching him continue his education and do the normal things kids his age do while dovetailing it with his racing – the level of self-discipline and dedication he has shown is admirable,” Webber said. “What Oscar managed to do last year in Formula Renault was also pretty special, how he took control of the championship and closed the title out. He’s got that white line fever when he puts his helmet on and turns into a different character, which is sensational.”
Webber played a crucial role in Piastri’s recent signing with the Renault Sport Academy which nurtures talented young drivers through junior racing championships to place them within F1 and an ultimate target of achieving a World Championship with the Renault F1 Team.
“Oscar is in a great position with Renault, they are investing in him, they believe he’s a horse worth backing and keeping a tight eye on, and that’s exciting for him and Australian motorsport,” he said. “He’s trying to get to an extremely tough category in Formula 1, and he knows what’s ahead of him, but Renault and ourselves know Oscar is an incredibly confident young lad, and we think he can do great things.”
Piastri said he was thrilled to have Webber’s experience and guidance at his disposal.
“I’m excited to start working with Mark and Ann; I think everyone in Australia knows who Mark Webber is and he’s a pretty big name to have on my side,” Piastri said. “Mark’s been through Formula 1, LMP1, and other categories through the years, so he has the experience that I’m sure if I have any issues, he will be able to steer me in the right direction or to the right people in the paddock. It doesn’t change how I go racing; my goals are still the same; it’s just that I’ve got outstanding people in my corner now.”
Piastri will contest the nine-round, 18-race 2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship with last year’s title-winning Prema Racing team – each round on the undercard of an F1 Grand Prix, with the season-opening event at the Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain on 20-22 March.
He will have his first official outing for Prema Racing in the three-day official pre-season test in Bahrain beginning today (1-3 March).