Finally, at the Abu Dhabi tests, Oscar Plates he was able to drive an updated Formula 1 car and with colleagues from the top flight. It almost didn’t seem real to the Australian, the unwilling protagonist of a hot summer between stamped papers and rejected promotions. At Yas Marina, the Australian was able to sit on his McLaren but raced with number 28, not the number he will take to the track in 2023. In view of his official debut on a race weekend, the 2021 Formula 2 champion will in fact use L’81.
But what is behind this choice? It was Piastri himself who explained it: “It was the number I had in the karts. When I did my first race I had to pick a number for my first race and the kart shop I went to only had number ones in stock. Of course I couldn’t be number one, for obvious reasons, so I was number 11 for the first two races, but then we got into the paddock – I think it was the Victoria State titles – and someone had already entered number 11she told the podcast In the fast lane. “I don’t know what inspired me to choose the 81, but I changed the first one to a number 8 and it has stuck with me ever since. So, that’s it“.
Piastri will become the first driver to wear the number 81 in Formula 1 since the possibility of choosing a personal number. The other absolute rookie – Logan Sargeant – will bring the 2 to the track, five years after Stoffel Vandoorne. Nico Hülkenberg will use the classic 27, while the choice of Nyck de Vries is not yet official, who used the 41 in Abu Dhabi but should “move” to the 45, which has already been used with Williams in its only race in Formula 1, closed in the points area for the general surprise.
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