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Oscar Piastri

Piastri identifies area Ferrari and Aston Martin have improved in

McLaren's Oscar Piastri has zeroed in on an area of performance where he feels his team has lost out to its rivals, saying the Woking team is no longer an "outlier" in that respect.

Piastri Saudi Arabia
To news overview © XPBimages

Oscar Piastri has observed an area in which McLaren has lost an advantage over its rivals, namely Ferrari and Aston Martin.

Whilst the Woking-based team has enjoyed a strong start to the season compared to 12 months ago, it has fallen behind Ferrari in terms of performance having ended last year as the second-fastest team, only behind Red Bull.

In taking 69 points from the opening four rounds, McLaren finds itself 51 points behind the Italian marque.

McLaren enjoys a comfortable advantage over Mercedes and Aston Martin in the constructors’ standings with more than the two teams’ points combined, but Piastri has identified one key area where McLaren has lost its advantage from last year – in high-speed corners.

“What's become clear in the last few races is that they're [high-speed circuits] not an outlier in being good just for us anymore,” he explained to media including RacingNews365 at the Japanese Grand Prix.

“So, let's say maybe the advantage we enjoyed at some of the high-speed circuits last year, I don't think we enjoy as much as anymore.”

'Ferrari have certainly made steps forward'

The highlight of the year so far for McLaren has been Lando Norris’ podium at the Australian Grand Prix – Piastri’s home race.

However, back-to-back fourth place finishes in Jeddah and Melbourne have allowed the 23-year-old to stay within five points of his more experienced team-mate.

The most recent round at Suzuka was a stronghold for McLaren last term, with the team securing a double-podium finish, but this year, Norris and Piastri could only achieve fifth and eighth respectively, highlighting the improvements made by rivals.

“I think Ferrari have certainly made steps forward in their high-speed performance. Red Bull, obviously, are still strong. Aston Martin have made step forward in the high-speed performance,” he contended.

With F1 heading to China for the next round, Piastri will be faced with racing at a new track. But with it being the first time the championship has raced at the Shanghai International Circuit in the modern ground-effects era, the added uncertainty of a sprint weekend is expected to act as an equaliser between teams.

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