Young gun: Piastri named FIA rookie of the year after stunning season

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Australian Formula 1 driver Oscar Piastri says he is determined to build on his strong finish to the 2023 season, having capped a superb debut campaign by being awarded the FIA rookie of the year.

The Melbourne-born McLaren driver claimed the award at the annual FIA prize-giving ceremony in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Saturday (AEDT).

Man on a mission: Oscar Piastri enjoyed a fine rookie season in Formula 1.Credit: AP

Piastri, 22, ended the Formula 1 season in ninth on the driver standings, surging into contention in the back half of the season. He had top-five finishes in the Great Britain and Hungary Grands Prix, having had just five points across his first nine grand prix events – four of them in Melbourne when he avoided trouble in a crash-riddled Australian Grand Prix to finish eighth.

“If we can start next year like we finished this season, we should be in good shape,” Piastri said at the ceremony.

“Enjoyed my rookie season in F1 a lot. Hopefully, it is the last rookie season of my career.”

Two other rookies in the championship – Logan Sargeant (Williams) and Nyck De Vries (AlphaTauri, replaced by Daniel Ricciardo midway through the season after poor results) – finished 21st and 22nd respectively in the overall standings.

The FIA Rookie of the Year award covers several motor racing categories. Piastri is the first F1 driver to win it since Alex Albon in 2019.

This is the second time Piastri has been rookie of the year, having claimed the award in 2021 for his debut season in Formula 2.

Piastri also showed his class in the sprint races, finishing second to championship winner Max Verstappen in Belgium, before winning the Qatar sprint.

Verstappen claimed his third F1 world championship trophy, while his Red Bull team secured back-to-back constructors titles. Verstappen enjoyed a record-breaking campaign, winning 19 of the 22 races and score more points himself than any other team managed with both their drivers combined.

“Of course, throughout the year we were on a great roll, and we wanted to perform every single time, at every single race weekend. I think it did hit me a little bit more once I was standing on the podium at the end in Abu Dhabi – you realise the season is over, you don’t get to drive this car any more, unfortunately,” Verstappen said at the ceremony.

“But, yeah, it’s been incredible. And great fun as well to work with everyone. Of course, we all want to win and do the best we can. But when you’re travelling around so much all over the world, you want to do it with a great group of people, and we definitely have that at Red Bull.

“I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved this year, but, of course, I hope it doesn’t stop here.”

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