McLaren boss Andrea Stella is confident rookie driver Oscar Piastri can stay within the "bubble" during his first Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
Piastri, who was born in Melbourne, is set for his first home Grand Prix in just his third start next weekend amid a poor start to the season for McLaren.
The team announced the departure of Technical Director James Key earlier in the week in a reshuffle and restructure, with the impact of the much-talked about Azerbaijan upgrade package also being played down by Stella.
Despite the car troubles and the expected noise around Piastri at his first race on home asphalt, Stella has backed the Australian to block out the off-track distractions.
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Stella backs Piastri
"He is a very calm guy, I think he will be able to keep himself in the bubble," Stella explained to media, including RacingNews365, after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
"But certainly, we'll have to make sure that he can stay focused on racing, and stay focused on keeping up with this exceptional rate of development session after session."
Despite the car's performance troubles, McLaren have been impressed with Piastri's performances in Bahrain and Saudi, especially in the latter where he made it through to Q3 for the first time, lining up one spot behind Lewis Hamilton while teammate Lando Norris was out in Q1 after breaking his car's suspension.
Stella is pleased with the "constant progress" the 2021 Formula 2 champion has been making.
"If you look back at FP1, it was already a bit more competitive than in Bahrain, FP2 closer and then FP3 was pretty much a match for Lando," he said.
"Capitalising in Qualifying and then very strong in the race, for me, I see more constant progression, which is ultimately the plan that we have."
Join RacingNews365.com journalists Michael Butterworth and Dieter Rencken, with new host Balve Baines, as they discuss the key talking points from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.