Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg feels Oscar Piastri has a crucial season ahead of him against Lando Norris in 2023.
The Australian has taken a punt by leaving the safer option of a debut with Alpine by opting to move to McLaren. At Alpine, Piastri would have been given a year or two to bed in. His competition would have been a comparatively less difficult test in Esteban Ocon, and most importantly, he would not have had many eyes on him.
However, Rosberg said that Oscar Piastri did the right thing by taking up the opportunity to drive for a team like McLaren. However, the 2016 world champion cautioned Piastri that he will have to prove himself by beating Lando Norris, saying:
"It's a brave move by Oscar, it really is. It is either he beats Lando, or he's out basically of the sport, so it's really, really tough, but he believes in himself. And if you think you're that good, you've got to go for it. For Oscar, if you're a young driver, and you have the opportunity to race for McLaren, and you're free to do so, you have to take it. Opportunities like that don't come around all the time, so he's done everything right."
The 21-year-old Piastri will make his F1 debut next season, bringing an end to a 'tug of war' between Alpine and McLaren, which the Contract Resolution Board ruled in the latter's favour.
It's going to be tough for Oscar Piastri - Nico Rosberg
Following his rather tumultous exit from Alpine, Oscar Piastri will have the challenge of beating Lando Norris - one of the best drivers on the grid. Rosberg said that Piastri will face a monumental challenge against the Brit, who has dominated Daniel Ricciardo this season. Rosberg said:
"It is going to be tough for Oscar to do well there. Lando is world-class; he's world championship material there, so it's not going to be easy to go there and do better than Daniel. Ricciardo is a multiple race winner, one of the best drivers in the world, and has found it unbelievably tough against Lando. Oscar is brand new to this sport!"
He added that Piastri looks like a future superstar but will have to work hard to get 'close' to Norris' level. Rosberg said:
"All the indications are that Oscar really is one of those future superstars. But I can't really believe that suddenly Ricciardo has unlearned to drive super fast. Therefore, I think it's Lando who's just performing like a world champion at the moment; he's just driving so incredibly well. So I really think it will be a big, big challenge for Oscar next year to be close to Lando."
Oscar Piastri has decided to jump into the deep end. It will be interesting to see how he fares against Lando Norris (88), who is seventh in the driver standings going into the Singapore GP this weekend.