“There was an opportunity…”: Christian Horner hints at some regret as Red Bull let Oscar Piastri through their fingers

Christian Horner discusses how he regrets the decision Red Bull took years ago about not signing Oscar Piastri for their F1 Academy programme.

To say that the Australian F2 World Champion Oscar Piastri created ripples in the 2023 F1 drivers’ market would be an utter understatement. What Piastri actually did is set off a giant tsunami in the market as he had teams grappling with each other to sign a deal with for the upcoming season. But there has been one team, which is quite famous of recruiting young, talented racers from their academy, that has stayed silent through it all–and that’s Red Bull.

In a recent interview, Christian Horner, the Team Principal at Red Bull Racing, revealed that a few years ago, their team had had the “opportunity” to sign Piastri, but they had let him go. Had the 21-year-old been taken up by the British team, he would have been under the obligation to serve as a driver for Red Bull. And given his talent and Red Bull’s superb efforts, there is no telling how far the union between the racer and the team could have reached.

But that is all speculation now as Piastri has already been recruited by McLaren, after the team went to great lengths to prematurely terminate their deal with Daniel Ricciardo to take up the young racer. And then there has been the entire fiasco with Alpine officially confirming Piastri as their newest recruit after Alonso left for Aston Martin, but later Piastri confirmed he has not finalized a deal with the French team yet.

Read More: Lewis Hamilton and Michelle Obama share a warm embrace as former first Lady of US makes special appearance in Mercede Garage

Christian Horner says he “regrets” passing up the chance to hire Oscar Piastri

Oscar Piastri
Oscar Piastri

Seeing the huge clamour amongst the teams for hiring Oscar Piastri, Christian Horner could not help going back to the day when Red Bull was presented with the option to take the Australian under their wing at the Red Bull Academy. But at that time, he was not invited into the programme and Horner did agree that the lost opportunity is something that he regrets.

Speaking of the huge splash made by Piastri in F1 even before he entered the Championship, Christian Horner said, “There was an opportunity for Red Bull to look at him at the time and we didn’t take up that option, which is something that I regret.”

But Horner also remained cautious as he said Oscar Piastri will have a lot to prove in the F1 2023 season as he is being paired against Lando Norris, one of the most talented racers in the grid at this moment. And he also has to live up to the expectations of the McLaren executives who risked losing eight-time Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo for Piastri.

Read More: Sebastian Vettel to not appear on F1 TV shows: “I’m not going to be a TV pundit.”

Also Read: “Always like this!” Max Verstappen ridicules Mercedes’s sandbagging claims ahead of the F1 season opener in Bahrain

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.