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Oscar Piastri

McLaren draws Piastri-Schumacher-Alonso comparisons after striking new deal

Just how impressive has the Australian been in his rookie F1 season?

Piastri Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella has drawn comparisons between rookie Oscar Piastri and F1 World Champions Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.

The team announced Australian Piastri would remain with the team until at least the end of 2026 ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix following an impressive start to life on the F1 grid.

A number of strong performances have been punctuated by second in the Belgian Grand Prix Sprint, with his most latest result providing a points haul for seventh in Singapore despite a lowly grid position.

Stella has worked with high-end F1 talent across his F1 career and explaining the decision to extend Piastri's existing contract, he told media including RacingNews365.com: "When McLaren wanted to sign Oscar, we looked at the results in the junior categories.

"In the early days of the collaboration, we could see that what happened in the junior categories had good reason to happen.

"We could see this in the nature of the speed which is related to the talent - we even saw it on his first day in the simulator, the way he was assessing his own performance and saying 'this is where I am, this is where I need to improve', it was matching so well with what we could see from the data and that was quite impressive, it is where I thought 'this is a gift'.

"The self-awareness in relation of how to grab this speed opportunity... this then became apparent at the test and then race by race.

"We saw the qualities at an attitude level and these are to do with being able to continuously improve.

"You may be as talented as I say, I am sure there are people who are as talented that didn't go anywhere because there was no attitude for improvements. I think we have really good examples on the grid who can keep being extremely competitive at ages we didn't think would be obvious because of continuous improvements.

"So in this sense, this is a similarity with Fernando."

Establishing culture

"Then we have the person behind the driver," added Stella.

"For us it was important that the person we keep on board not only fits our culture but will contribute to establishing the culture even more and potentially adding to the culture, to the values and behaviours that make us become a team of mates.

"In this sense, Oscar, if he wasn't a Formula 1 driver, I would appreciate him as a person - the values he brings into the sport and the team, in this sense, makes me think about Michael.

"Somebody who worked with Michael in this paddock with another team now, he said to me 'he was so capable of building families'. It was definitely tough on track but within the team, the spirit and sense of unity was nothing short of a sense of family.

"So I think I am referring to natural talent, attitude and culture and values. These things became apparent to us relatively soon and that is why the conversations started soon."

F1 2023 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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