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Oscar Piastri

Why McLaren is being forced to 'protect' Piastri in Melbourne

Oscar Piastri will take part in his second home race next weekend as F1 descends on Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix.

Piastri Saudi Arabia FP2
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren Team Principal Andreas Stella has revealed he will “protect” Oscar Piastri during his home event in Australia next week.

Piastri will take part in his second home grand prix around Albert Park after making his F1 debut with McLaren last year.

The 22-year-old scored the first points of his career in Melbourne by crossing the line in eighth place amid a chaotic finish to the event.

Since his first outing in Melbourne, Piastri has added two podium finishes to his resumé after McLaren enjoyed a strong second half to last year's campaign.

McLaren's strong form has carried over to the current season, with Piastri ending last weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in fourth place.

The Melbourne native is likely to be at the centre of attention during the upcoming event, at a time when driver schedules are already filled with media and sponsorships duties.

As a result, McLaren will dial back Piastri's commitments to ensure it does not detract from his performance on the track.

“In general, this year, we are paying more attention to the driver schedule over a race weekend,” Stella told media, including RacingNews365, when asked as to the plan around Piastri given the focus of attention that will be on him in Melbourne.

“We want to make sure the drivers have the time to focus on performance, focus on downtime, relax, and so on.

“We're effectively using the same approach, but if anything even more carefully for Melbourne.

“There are many requests, some we will accept [and] some we’ll have to protect [to] deliver the performance and we will not accept.”

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