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Oscar Piastri

Piastri uncovers crucial McLaren trait in rookie year

Australian Piastri was impressive in his rookie F1 season as he and teammate Norris helped propel McLaren up the Constructors' standings. But what was the key factor behind the sudden turnaround for the Woking-based outfit?

Piastri Abu Dhabi
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Oscar Piastri has paid tribute to McLaren's "culture" after an impressive first season in F1.

The Australian joined the Woking-based team with a heap of pressure on his shoulders after the drawn-out contract saga involving former employers Alpine and, despite initial struggles with an under-performing car, was able to demonstrate the form that took him to three consecutive junior formulae championships.

Piastri's year was punctuated by his victory in the Qatar Grand Prix Sprint and, speaking to media including RacingNews365.com, he explained what had impressed him most by McLaren in his rookie season.

"From the moment I joined the team, I felt there was firstly a very good culture, the team was very welcoming to me," said Piastri.

"I think even when times were tough, everyone was still very motivated to try and improve the situation.

"Whether that was people in the race team, people in the design office, whoever it may be... it was still optimistic.

"Just the confidence we could turn it around has been nice to see. There are always a few question marks, when we first put the upgrades on the car in Austria and Silverstone, whether it would give us the kind of gains we were hoping for and it did.

"Since then, there has been full confidence in the team that we will be able to keep progressing.

"When I first joined the team, I thought we were ready to be competing at the front. We just needed the tools and the car to be able to do it.

"It has been impressive everywhere and also helping me to develop."

'Just the simple things'

Piastri and teammate Lando Norris put together an impressive run of form that helped launch the team into podium contention for the majority of the second half of the season, often emerging as Red Bull's biggest threat.

McLaren has enjoyed harmonious teammate partnerships since Norris joined in 2019, with the Briton teaming up with Carlos Sainz and then Daniel Ricciardo. It is this harmony throughout the team that Piastri has pinpointed as a crucial factor in its resurgence.

"Just the simple things like the friendliness of the team," he explained.

"I guess in F1 and motorsport in general, you have the potential to have a sort of divide on the two sides of the garage.

"It is definitely not the case here. We all work together as one team, trying to help each other... starting from myself and Lando trying to help each other to all the engineers and the mechanics and stuff like that.

"So just the bond and relationship between everyone is really good to see and some of the initiatives we have got as well, some of the other areas of performance that aren't necessarily related to the car, whether that's keeping the people in the best shape possible or whatever it may be."

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