Oscar Piastri issues warning ahead of 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri has had a challenging start to his Formula 1 calendar, having suffered a DNF and pointless finish in the opening two races.

Oscar Piastri is cautious about the proposed changes to the Formula 1 sprint weekend format ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The street circuit in Baku is famously a tricky track to navigate, as it is, at some parts, incredibly tight, especially with the inclusion of the fast-paced event on the Saturday.

Having qualified in P9 in Saudi Arabia, Piastri’s first shot at points came to an end swiftly when he suffered contact with Pierre Gasly’s Alpine on lap one, so the Australian will be naturally keen to avoid a repeat of the situation in Azerbaijan.

With six sprint events scheduled this year, the proposed new format will see a Friday qualifying session replace the second practice session, setting the grid for the sprint race.

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The normal Saturday qualifying session for the Sunday Grand Prix will remain in place.

This new format will give the three rookie drivers on the grid, including Piastri, only one practice session around the difficult track before jumping into a race.

“I think it definitely doesn’t make my life any easier, not having more practice sessions,” Piastri said.

“But you know, it’s the same for everyone in terms of track time, so that’s not a concern.

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“If they (F1) do go ahead with that plan (to change the weekend format), I think that’s probably better.

“The way it is at the moment – not that I’ve done one – but it kind of just looks like there are two races that are more or less the same.

“Obviously, no one wants to take too much risk in the sprint race with the way it is at the moment.

“I think having two separate qualifying sessions, it’s a little bit more like how F2 and F3 are at the moment where you have the sprint race – okay, it’s a reverse grid – but a similar kind of idea, obviously.

“Whatever happens in the sprint race doesn’t affect the main race, and I think that will be better for the entertainment and (you will) be able to take more risks.

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“Obviously at Baku, a street circuit, there is the potential for carnage, but if they were to go with that format then I’d been pretty happy with that.”

McLaren have found themselves bumped up to fifth place in the Constructors’ Standings after a successful double points finish in Australia.

The Papaya outfit will be hoping to continue that progress when they enter the streets of Baku, as they attempt to remain ahead of their Alpine rivals, who are only four points behind them.