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Andrea Stella

McLaren back Piastri improvement claims

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has backed up Oscar Piastri's claim that he has taken a step forward in performance over recent F1 weekends.

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McLaren team principal Andrea Stella agrees that Oscar Piastri has taken a step forward in his second season in F1.

The 53-year-old's supported his driver's appraisal of his own performance, highlighting that the Australian has made improvements following the Chinese Grand Prix, in April.

The Piastri had an inconsistent start to the year, with three eighth-positions and two fourth-places in the opening five rounds. However, after the race in Shanghai, Stella revealed the team identified some development areas, which the 23-year-old has made good on.

"Yes, I think that's the case," Stella told media including RacingNews365 when asked if he agreed with Piastri's view that he had taken a step forward in recent rounds.

"Especially after China, we looked at what we had learned in the first part of the season together with Oscar's engineers, and we found a couple of opportunities that we started to work on. 

"And I have to say that they seem to be delivering an acceleration in Oscar's development. There's always underlying development, but in this case, both in terms of pure speed, which you can see in qualifying, And in terms of race craft, I think we have seen Oscar competing at a very high level and, like I say, an acceleration in his development."

Return to circuits key to Piastri development

In the last three rounds, Piastri has finished fourth, second and fifth, respectively, and would have achieved a strong result in Miami if it were not for contact with the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. 

Through the early stages of that race, the pressure he put Max Verstappen under forced the Red Bull driver into a mistake, which caused the RB20 damage, aiding team-mate Lando Norris later on en route to victory.

Whilst Piastri feels consistency is still lacking from his all-round performance, he has previously spoken about the confidence returning to circuits, and more familiar settings, has been for him in his second F1 season - something Stella agrees with, whilst adding that overall experience also has its part to play.

"Coming back to the same track is definitely important," the McLaren team principal said. "There's a sense of familiarity. There's historical data. There's a lot of things that you review after year one. 

"But in addition to that, it's also that you have more races that you do in Formula 1, more races to work with your engineers, more races to just understand what you need to work on. 

"So I think it's not only the fact that you come to the same track for the second time, it's just the overall journey of development, which I have to say for Oscar is quite impressive."

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