“That number has stayed with me ever since”: Oscar Piastri picks his racing number for his debut F1 season with McLaren in 2023

Oscar Piastri has chosen the number 81 for his Formula 1 debut in the upcoming 2023 season and he has also shared his sweet memories with the number.

Oscar Piastri
Oscar Piastri

Formula 2 2021 Champion Oscar Piastri has already made a splash in the F1 drivers’ market before even entering the pinnacle of motorsports. While the former Prema Racing recruit is serving as Alpine’s test driver in this current F1 season, he refused to go into a deal with the French team to become their full-time driver, and instead, took up an offer proposed by McLaren. Thus, the Australian is all set to partner Lando Norris as McLaren’s newest recruit in the upcoming 2023 Championship, and he recently picked his race number too.

Race number holds a lot of significance for any motorsports driver, who always have some kind of story to explain why they picked the number that they did. In Carlos Sainz’s case, his number 55 indicates his own name, while Max Verstappen traded his number 33 for number 1 when he became the 2021 World Champion, to flaunt his newfound status as the F1 title holder.

As Oscar Piastri was invited for an interview on the official podcast of the Australian Grand Prix–In the Fast Lane–he explained the reason behind his choosing 81 as his race number. Piastri’s choice has already attracted a lot of attention from fans as they are expecting an excellent performance from him in his debut year in the papaya overalls.

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Oscar Piastri’s race number has stayed the same since his junior racing days

Oscar Piastri
Oscar Piastri

Formula 1 racers often choose a number that holds some significance in their lives while taking their pick of their race number. It was announced by the FIA in 2014 that racers can choose their own numbers, provided the number is not already being used by some existing F1 racer on the grid.

To honour this rule, Piastri chose number 81 and said, “81 was the number I used while karting. When I first had to choose a number, the shop I was in only had number 1 available. I chose number 11 then. But when I registered for the Victoria State Titles, someone else already had number 11, and I switched to 81. That number has stayed with me ever since.”

In other news, the fans have astronomical expectations from Oscar Piastri, as do the executives at McLaren since they prematurely terminated their deal with Daniel Ricciardo to sign Piastri. Now, it only remains to be seen if the Australian manages to live up to the buzz and matches up to Lando Norris is racing abilities and results in the upcoming season.

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Riddhi Mondal is an F1 author at FirstSportz. Having previously worked as a student reporter at The Statesman, she is an ardent follower of all things F1. A nerd through and through, the complicated physics that goes into the cars is what drew Riddhi to the sport. She is a proud McLaren fan who eagerly awaits the paddock's visit to Spa Francorchamps and hopes to attend the Monaco GP one day. A student of medicine, whenever she's not fawning over Daniel Ricciardo or rooting for Max Verstappen to become the next World Champion, Riddhi's either busy reading thrillers, debating, or playing with her six feline friends.