Piastri “much more comfortable” at new circuits than at start of rookie season

Formula 1

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Formula 1 rookie Oscar Piastri believes he’s much better prepared to race at unfamiliar circuits than he was at the start of the 2023 season.

Starting with last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, Piastri will compete at seven consecutive tracks that he has never raced at before until the season concludes at the Yas Marina Circuit, which he is familiar with from Formula 2.

Melbourne, Miami, Montreal and Zandvoort were all new venues to Piastri too, and including Singapore he has been able to score at three of those five tracks. He took his third-best result of the season last weekend by finishing seventh, and was asked about how he feels his rookie campaign has gone.

“I think it was about how I imagined it. I tried to learn as quickly as I can, but also factor in that I hadn’t raced for a year before this season,” said Piastri, who was confirmed on Wednesday to have signed a contract extract extension with McLaren keeping him at the team until the end of the 2026 season.

“Whilst the number is just from F2 to F1, it’s a lot bigger jump than any other series. So there’s that aspect, and also just learning a lot of things, a lot of new circuits as well. So I knew there’d be some mistakes, some weekends I’d be unhappy with, some that I would be happier with, which has been the case. So I think it’s been about how I expected. I feel like I’ve made maybe a couple more errors than I would have liked. And a few moments I wish I could have had again.”

Piastri’s strongest weekend to date was at Silverstone, where he qualified third and finished fourth, but he was also runner-up in the sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps. He is not thinking about if similar results are possible in the upcoming races, but is feeling more confident about facing new tracks now he knows the McLaren MCL60 better.

“I think there will probably be some more ups and downs,” he said. “I think the difference from the sort of flyways and new circuits we had at the beginning of the year was I was trying to learn new circuits and the new car as well. Whereas now I feel like, although we’re still putting new parts on the car, I’m much more comfortable in the car and what I need from it, how to drive it quickly to get the most out of it. And that’s always a very comforting aspect no matter which track you go to.

“So I feel like that aspect is easier. It should be easier. Of course there are tracks that I don’t know. But I think compared to the European tracks, I’ve got a bit more experience of the car, less experience of the tracks. So we’ll see.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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