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Oscar Piastri

McLaren cools concerns over Piastri’s race pace woes

Oscar Piastri has shown strong one-lap speed this year but has been largely unable to challenge team-mate Lando Norris across a race distance.

Piastri Norris Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stellar asserts that he has no concerns regarding Oscar Piastri’s race pace compared to team-mate Lando Norris.

Last time out at the Japanese Grand Prix, Piastri scored the first podium of his Formula 1 career, crossing the line in third place.

However, the Australian rookie started the race ahead of Norris, sharing the front row with pole-sitter Max Verstappen, with Norris in third.

At the end of the race, Piastri crossed the line 17 seconds behind Norris, who was let through earlier in the race after asserting he had more speed in hand.

Speaking to media including RacingNews365.com, Stella says Piastri’s deficit is part of the journey as a rookie driver in F1.

“I think when it comes to race pace, it is not like you learn race pace and it’s a set of skills that then you deploy for every race,” he said.

“Race pace in a race like Japan, with high degradation, the car bouncing a little bit in some places, high speed, low-speed management is kind of applicable to Japan, plus some general learning.

“But this doesn't mean that it was the same in Hungary or it was the same somewhere else.

“That’s why it's a bit of a journey. It takes time, because every situation, presents its own characteristics.”

Piastri’s ‘gift’

Piastri showcased strong one-lap speed once again at Suzuka to snatch his first-ever front-row start.

Stella highlighted that McLaren isn’t dealing with the situation of having to work with Piastri to extract raw pace out of the car, describing it as the 22-year-old’s “gift”.

“I’m sure Oscar will have learned things. And actually, I think towards the end it was already better than it was in the second stint.

“So it's just a systematic work of cashing in all the possible learnings. There's no one-off learning that is applicable to every situation.

“It’s just a rookie element. But the first thing I would take is always the outright speed, which is what we saw in qualifying. Because when you have that, race pace and all these things are much easier to work on.

“It’s not about finding the edge on a single lap in Suzuka like we saw. It's more difficult to sort of work together with your engineers - that’s a gift.”

F1 2023 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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