“I’ve Got Nightmares”: Oscar Piastri Recalls Chilling Monza Incident That Continues to Haunt Him

Published 09/01/2023, 9:15 AM EDT

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F1 is back this weekend after an enthralling race at the Dutch GP where drivers were driving on a wet track with slick tires. Oscar Piastri was amongst the drivers left out by their teams on slick tires. It surely doesn’t get more scary than that, does it? Well, Oscar Piastri recalls an incident from Monza that continues to haunt him even now. What was this haunting incident? Was it scarier than what Piastri faced at the Dutch GP?

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Monza is arguably one of the most iconic tracks on the F1 calendar. The track itself has so much history with the earlier iterations, including the oval and the bankings. Yet, the modern iteration of the track is all about high speed, with the Curva Grande and Parabolica being the only high downforce corners. As a result, the top speed of the cars becomes essential on this track. 

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During the Thursday press conference before the Monza GP weekend, Oscar Piastri recalled a scary incident. The incident, from his time in F3, was all because of this need for speed.

Slipstreaming massively helps the car follow behind as there is less air to push through, resulting in a higher top speed. The cars usually slow down to crawling speeds before starting a lap, forcing the car ahead to get a move on and give slipstream to the one behind. Nobody wants to punch a hole in the air for others to gain the advantage.

Piastri recalled his time in F3 when the session was red-flagged as this greed for slipstream caused dangerous conditions. “Getting a slipstream in qualifying is important. I’ve got nightmares of my F3 days of a red flag in qualifying sessions from people trying to get tows,” Piastri said.

As a result, the cars on a flying lap and the ones crawling create a dangerous situation on the track because of the massive closing speeds. And it’s not only in F3 that it has happened. It has also happened in Formula 1.

The Chaotic qualifying session at the 2019 and 2020 Italian GP

The F1 cars carry much more downforce compared to the F2 and F3 cars. As a result, the effect of slipstream in reducing the drag is even higher. 2019 was notably the most chaotic year when the Q3 session had a bizarre end.

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During the final run in Q3, nobody wanted to be in front. Every car on the track was literally crawling. This created a traffic jam kind of situation with all 10 cars bunched up, and no one willing to move on. 

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Eventually, only Sainz made it in time to start a flying lap while everyone else behind him was not making it. The Q1 session in 2020 was also plagued by this issue. There, about six cars scrapped going into turn 1 in an attempt to get slipstream. Sebastian Vettel was one of the drivers who got eliminated in Q1 because of this slipstream greed. 

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Watch this Story: Is Oscar Piastri Already Justifying His Talent By Performing Better Than Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren?

What do you make of this chaos? Will it happen again?

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Written by:

Pranay Bhagi

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Pranay Bhagi is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports, who has always been passionate about sports and writing. With a degree from a prestigious institute, he has channeled his enthusiasm into sports journalism, particularly F1, a sport that has captivated him for over a decade. Pranay's deep-rooted love for the sport began during the Sebastian Vettel era, and he has been following it religiously ever since.
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Edited by:

Vishav

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