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Oscar Piastri

Piastri identifies 'noticeable difference' after debut in McLaren 2022 car

Oscar Piastri was given his first experience of a 2022 F1 car during the post-season test in Abu Dhabi, as the Australian continues to prepare for his rookie season with McLaren in 2023.

Piastri McLaren Abu Dhabi Test
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Oscar Piastri admits that he felt a "noticeable difference" after getting behind the wheel of a 2022 F1 car for the first time at the Abu Dhabi post-season test.

The Australian – who will make his debut on the grid in 2023 with McLaren – joined his new team for testing at the Yas Marina Circuit, marking his debut drive in the current year's machinery.

Piastri had previously tested for Alpine in their 2021-spec car during the season, and was also given one day's running in one of McLaren's year-old cars.

After a year on the racing sidelines following his 2021 Formula 2 championship victory, Piastri shared his thoughts about the experience following his first outing in a 2022 car.

Piastri on his testing experience

When asked about the differences between the 2021 and 2022 cars, Piastri told media, including RacingNews365.com: "I think there's definitely a decent difference, a noticeable difference.

"In the low-speed corners, just the added weight, you can tell. And I think just with the stiffness and some of the other general characteristics of the car, it's in some ways a little bit more like an F2 car.

"But still, in the grand scheme of things much, much closer to the older F1 car. So yes, there's a bit of a difference, but it's still an F1 car."

In terms of his experience with the tyres, Piastri felt that this was more difficult to judge.

"It's hard to say," he commented.

"I think the cars themselves are also so different, in quite a few aspects, that it's a little bit difficult to say.

"I think that the academy tyres are probably a little bit more user-friendly, in some conditions, but a little bit worse in other conditions, so it was a bit hard to get a read.

"But the tyres that I drove today, I don't really know anything different of the 18-inch F1 tyres. They stayed on the car and they kept me going around!"

Piastri praises 'awesome' day with McLaren

Piastri admits that he still has some aspects of the car to adapt to.

"I wouldn't say it was 100 per cent natural, but I don't think any car is 100 per cent natural," the 21-year-old explained.

"I think one of the difficulties of the sport is being able to adapt. It's certainly different to the F2 car I've raced, the F3 car I've raced, the '21 car that I drove.

"You have to change it more or less every year, and the cars are constantly getting developed so, even throughout the season, you might have to adapt.

"So there [were] a few things that did need a bit of changing, but there was nothing that was completely alien."

Overall, Piastri enjoyed the experience of getting to work with his new team as they prepare for the 2023 campaign.

"It's a cool feeling," he said.

"It's a very different feeling to the young driver test I did last year, because I knew that was kind of just a day to have fun in an F1 car whereas, obviously, this year, it's a building block towards next year.

"It was awesome to have my first day with McLaren and to get to know everyone in the team. I'm trying to improve and get back up to speed for next year, so [it was] pretty special."

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RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key issues from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, including whether Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto's position is at risk.

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