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Oscar Piastri

Piastri post-season test with McLaren 'pivotal'

Oscar Piastri tested with his new McLaren team at the end of the 2022 F1 season, which manager Mark Webber says was important experience.

Piastri McLaren Abu Dhabi Test
To news overview © XPBimages

Oscar Piastri's seat time for McLaren at the 2022 end-of-season test has been described as "pivotal" by former F1 driver Mark Webber.

The Australian was granted an early release from his contract with Alpine to test for McLaren in Abu Dhabi, following a lengthy contract dispute.

Webber, who manages Piastri, said in an interview with Speedcafe that the experience will prove to be valuable for him as he gets to grips with his new working environment.

"It's pivotal," said Webber.

"Obviously, the working environment is important, particularly for someone like Oscar, who's so insanely detailed.

"He’s methodical in his approach and McLaren has seen that already, which is great, but you can do as much as you want at the factory as a reserve driver, whatever that is [or] can be, but you need to be racing and preparing for that.

"Ultimately, he's enjoyed those tests and that was a good scenario, very good for us, brilliant scenario for us to be able to do those."

Webber: Young drivers 'pretty thin' on testing

Webber made his F1 debut in 2002 with Minardi, and during that period the teams were not restricted on their testing mileage. Now the sport restricts teams to cut costs and ensure more competitiveness in the field.

While Piastri was part of a testing programme with Alpine in 2022, the lack of running with McLaren is still at the detriment of enabling young drivers critical time behind the wheel before their race debut, according to Webber.

"[It] gives them and Oscar some things to think about obviously over the winter in preparation for Bahrain [this] year, because the mileage is pretty short now," Webber continued.

"I'm a fossil now, I'm an old guy, but back in our day we used to do loads of testing but obviously for the youngsters now, it's pretty thin on the ground.

"Oscar had done eight days in the car up until June and then had, like, a four-month gap, so it's not like tennis or golf, it's pretty hard on these youngsters these days."

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