Piastri ‘keeping Norris on his toes after two years without a challenge’ – Brown

RaceFans Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown is pleased the contest between his drivers was much closer during the 2023 F1 season.

In brief

Piastri “keeping Norris on his toes” – Brown

Brown took the decision to drop Daniel Ricciardo from McLaren’s line up with a year left to run on his contract. He says his replacement, Oscar Piastri, has proved much stronger alongside Lando Norris.

“Lando hadn’t been challenged by his team mate in the last couple of years on a regular basis,” Brown told Track Limits. “But I think Oscar’s keeping Lando on his toes.

“I think the benefit is they like a very similar race car so we’re getting constant, consistent feedback from the two. The last thing you want is have two drivers that one says they have understeer, the other says they have oversteer and then kind of what do you do? So I think we’re benefiting from having two very fast drivers that are very technical.”

Brown added a note of praise for Ricciardo, saying it’s “great to see Daniel doing so well at AlphaTauri because he’s a great, great guy.”

“He won me my first race,” Brown added, “I’ll always have a soft spot for him.”

Drugovich “like another race driver”

Last year’s Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich will not graduate to F1 next year but Aston Martin are highly impressed by the job he’s done for them as a test and simulator driver this year. That included making two appearances for them in practice sessions, fulfilling an FIA requirement, the last of which came in Abu Dhabi.

“For us to have a driver ready to step in is very important,” said the team’s performance director Tom McCullough. “The work he’s doing for us now in the simulator is very impressive.

“He is a very strong simulator driver with a great work ethic so we’re getting value from that already. When he drove the car again on Friday [in Abu Dhabi], the data he’s getting us is cracking data. The regulations are forcing us to run the FP1 driver, he is a great one to put in because it’s just like having another race driver, nearly.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Social media

Notable posts from X (formerly Twitter), TikTok and more:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Comment of the day

Although no rookies will appear on the grid when the 2024 F1 season begins, Brell-9W says current team bosses deserve praise for giving the likes of Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu ample time to prove themselves:

I, for one, am glad that Formula One is now a series that values experience.

We have gone from the days in the 2010’s where there was constant churn seemingly for the sake of it, spearheaded by Helmut Marko and his ‘young driver programme’, and imitated by others.

I think of names like Alguesuari, Buemi, Vergne, di Resta, Kobayashi, Nasr, Wehrlein, and more, drivers who were there for two, at most three years, and suddenly dropped, without seeing how they would have developed or fared in stronger teams. Most of these drivers were improving steadily, and were never offered a further chance.

Let’s appreciate the job the current Formula 1 drivers are doing, some of them in underwhelming cars, and realise there are very few out there who could match them.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Julio Mv and Nat Lockwood!

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

22 comments on “Piastri ‘keeping Norris on his toes after two years without a challenge’ – Brown”

  1. the other says they have oversteer and then kind of what do you do?

    Tell them to go back to school, teach them to drive, an instill in them bad habits, despite being proven race winners in cars that were not the best… Apparantly.

    1. Well, a team that wants a WCC instead of just a WDC makes compromises to get better, more consistent performance from both of their drivers.

      Red Bull are happy with just Verstappen, and good for them.
      Mercedes, during their dominant period, were more interested in having Bottas and Rosberg also up there taking regular podiums, wins and WCC points.
      Priorities and choices…

    2. Eh? Apparantly.

  2. I don’t quite get what ”he won my first race” means in the relevant context.

    COTD couldn’t be more spot-on.
    Giving time instead of hastily sacking is indeed important, especially with limited on-track testing.
    Therefore, I also praise teams for such an approach rather than question them for limiting options for new drivers to join, even if that’s unideal for those drivers.

    1. He means McLaren’s first win under Brown’s tenure. Ie: Monza 2021

      1. I should’ve realized, but just struggled to comprehend because the literal meaning suggests something different.

  3. RE: QOTD

    Formula 1 hasn’t changed.
    Money, connections and speed still rule.

    Sargeant will probably be dropped at the end of his second season, as will Zhou at the end of his third season.

    Just like the RB juniors and other drivers listed in QOTD.

    This is just a calm before storm that will likely happen on drivers market for 2025 and 2026.

    Williams is waiting for someone with more speed, but enough money.
    And Sauber (Audi) is in the hunt for proven drivers.
    I believe that is the reason why they kept their current drivers.

    Singling out Marko for dropping drivers after couple of seasons is a cheap shot at him.
    What Red Bull have done with their driver rotations in Red Bull and AlphaTauri (Toro Rosso) since 2018 when Ricciardo left them is ridiculous.
    However, if the likes of Alguersuari, Vergne, Buemi, Hartley, de Vries and Kvyat had more potential, why didn’t other F1 teams offered them race seat?
    Is that also his fault?

    1. I like everything about this comment

    2. Yes agree. And most of them have gone on to very nice livings in other categories. Not like “he” dumped them out of motorsports.

    3. “Singling out Marko for dropping drivers after couple of seasons is a cheap shot at him.” – perhaps. I think it’s simply I don’t like his methods, which other people started copying.
      I feel that in the 90s and 00s, driver careers followed a natural progression and as long as they were useful in scoring points they stayed with the team, but once they could no longer perform, they lost their seat.

      The 2010’s was different. We could see plenty of drivers at a competitive level but lost their seat simply because it was in vogue to keep replacing drivers.

  4. I disagree with CotD.
    Rookie drivers should’ve proven to be race/championship winners before entering F1.

    Then one year (24 weekends) should be enough to show some progress at least.
    Don’t expect a mediocre racer after a mediocre season to suddenly become a next Alonso, Hamilton, Verstappen, or even an Ocon or Gasly.

    I didn’t see any progress in Sargeant’s season; now give another driver a chance to show some clear progress.
    Why have seats occupied by him, Magnussen, Zhou, (and some bigger names) when there could be another Piastri waiting on the sideline? Or why prolong their career, when Lawson has proven more capabilities in merely five races?

    1. I disagree with CotD.
      Rookie drivers should’ve proven to be race/championship winners before entering F1.

      I agree totally. For me drivers in the lower classes shot mount a consistently compelling case for the step up to F1 with teams competing for their signature.
      The current tie up with teams and the winner of say F2 being unable to continue in that series doesn’t lend itself to such a situation. I’d be happy if Drugovich/Lawson or whoever spent a couple of years destroying all comers. Then they should be subject of competitive offers to join more than one F1 team. (or not).

  5. Drugovich is like another race driver?
    Meaning Aston Martin now have two?

    Cheap shot at Stroll is cheap, but the thought amused me.

  6. Reading the COTD’s list I’m struggling to find a reason why any of the driver’s listed should have gotten additional F1 seasons over the drivers that replaced them. What would they have shown differently in the extra seasons given to them? Would they suddenly have lept forward? I suspect not so much.

    COTD says there aren’t many who could match them, but I beg to differ. There’s drivers in F1 that are hard to match, for sure, and those are the drivers that get a longer stay in F1, but F2 every year is full of drivers that would do just as well in F1 as the lower midfield drivers in that list, those are the ones that should be gone after 1 to 3 seasons at most, as it should be. F1 is sink or swim, not watertreading practice for toddlers.

  7. Coventry Climax
    18th December 2023, 15:58

    ‘So please stay away from such artificial elements of tension. A reversed starting order is just as much a no-go for Formula 1 as a BoP or (Balance of Performance) placement weights. The sport drifts to the level of wrestling.’

    Seems like Auto, Motor und Sport is not very well informed about either the gimmicks aleady there, DRS, Pirellis (!) or the status of BoP in F1: Budget Cap, Aero Testing Allowance, an ever tighter development space etc.

    With the ‘finger weg’ part I agree, too bad though there’s well over 30 sticky fingers in there already.
    (Hint: To have more than 30 fingers, you need at least three ‘Bodies’.)

    1. Not to mention the awful situation on the engine front, which is effectively a BoP situation, as reported earlier in the year: https://www.racefans.net/2023/07/28/fia-to-examine-how-to-equalise-engine-performance-after-alpine-request/

  8. Arnoux isn’t wrong, but it’s a bit… I won’t say tiresome, annoying that tyre management is such a privileged skill in modern F1. For a part that the teams have no influence over or say in, it’s far too important.

    F1 is fast enough that it won’t hurt them to use harder tyres with a wider operating window. These super soft compounds are extremely sensitive, and always will be.

  9. Was it really a problem that the named drivers were dumped out of Formula 1 so early? The counter-point would be that there are limited seats on the grid and keeping the same drivers for too long causes promising young drivers to miss out. Toro Rosso was invented to find drivers good enough to potentially drive for Red Bull in the future, and you can tell after three seasons if a driver will ever be able to make that step. Keeping Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari for a couple more years of average performances would have denied Daniel Ricciardo the shot to show he was genuinely good enough to drive for Red Bull. Had Vergne been retained, Carlos Sainz would have had to wait. Felipe Nasr made way for Pascal Wehrlein, who was clearly better than him, and then Wehrlein made way for Charles Leclerc who was obviously an improvement. Sometimes it happens the other way, with Kobayashi being replaced by Gutierrez, but all in all, the drivers that replaced the listed drivers turned out to be better than them, particularly in terms of potential. And three years is clearly enough to know if a driver is going to be a future champion. Those drivers were all average drivers and good enough for the two or three years, while some of them could have had longer than that like a Kevin Magnussen, but it doesn’t really matter than others didn’t.

    The current situation seems worse to me. Logan Sargeant’s first season was clearly worse than any of those drivers listed, and it would make much more sense to test out a Felipe Drugovich or Frederik Vesti to see if they have the potential to be far better. What is the point of giving a driver two seasons when you can see from the first that they will always be below average? It is the same at Alfa Romeo, where Zhou Guanyu is clearly never going to be better than a bit below average for an F1 driver so why not give a chance to Theo Pourchaire, who might end up being a future superstar? Although money plays a part there. Binning Nyck de Vries was the right move because Ricciardo had a better chance of going to Red Bull again in the future, and it inadvertently allowed Liam Lawson a few races and he showed himself to have far more potential than De Vries.

    1. Nasr worse than Wherlein?

    2. Nope. All the dumped drivers deserved to be.

  10. It’s absolutely absurd that a sport at the scale of F1 (and its support series) relies so completely on volunteer labor (marshals etc) to operate its events safely and smoothly.
    My town’s youth sports leagues can pay their referees to show up, but F1 can’t manage to pay for the safety crews at their races.

Comments are closed.