Even though McLaren has got its hands on a talented young rookie in Oscar Piastri for the 2023 Formula 1 season, the team is still losing the decade of experience from Daniel Ricciardo.
He will rejoin his former team Red Bull as third driver, meaning the only 'yard stick' for car development at McLaren will be Lando Norris.
Head of Race Operations, Andrea Stella, explains how Norris will be a key influence for Piastri as he looks to embed himself in the team early on.
"I think the important point is to have continuity with Lando, he keeps the reference," said Stella to media, including RacingNews365.com.
"It's a reference that we know very well, even because we have gone through the development of Lando together with him.
"It will become a frame of reference for Oscar as well and this not only for his performance, but also understanding the car."
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Stella: Team has confidence in Piastri's 'talent, process, and intelligence'
Piastri has been out of a competitive race seat since the 2021 Formula 2 season, having spent most of 2022 doing simulator work and on track testing.
But despite his lack of recent race experience, Stella says the team is "quite adamant" that Piastri will not need to lean too much on Ricciardo's baseline for performance.
He explained: "In F1 you get a very good idea what your competitiveness is from the numbers, and with the drivers you deal with subtleties - the final percentage of your performance.
"If you give me good numbers, I would take it even if we don't have very clear references from the drivers.
"Oscar is on an independent journey, we want him to use what we learned with Daniel, but we are quite adamant that he will have enough talent, process, and intelligence to kind of find his own way."
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