Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Shanghai International Circuit, 2024

Piastri’s development has “accelerated” since Chinese GP – McLaren

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Oscar Piastri is impressing McLaren with the progress he has made in his second season at the team.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella identified the Chinese Grand Prix in April as a turning point for the driver. Piastri has scored 40 points over the last three races, just eight fewer than his experienced team mate Lando Norris.

“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,” Stella explained. “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.”

Norris won the first race after China while Piastri’s afternoon was compromised by contact with Carlos Sainz Jnr. Piastri then qualified second at Imola, but lost the place due to a penalty, and finished second in Monaco. He took fifth in Canada, six second behind his team mate.

Stella said Piastri gained valuable experience of mastering F1’s highly sensitive tyres during the Chinese Grand Prix, in co-operation with his race engineer Tom Stallard. His result was again compromised when a rival damaged his car.

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“Specifically in China, that was a race in which tyre degradation and managing tyre degradation was important,” he said. “We reviewed what was the objective entering the race in terms of managing tyres, how we executed, how we interacted with the driver during the race, what should have been the contribution of the engineers, what should have been the realisation of the drivers. That’s the kind of things you review.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Monaco, 2024
Piastri impressed with second place in Monaco
“In all those aspects, we found ways of doing a better job altogether. So that’s the kind of conversations you have with a driver to then try and move on, not only driver, but also the engineering support.”

Piastri did not race in 2022, when he was a reserve driver for Alpine, so the experience he gained last year is also paying off, Stella believes.

“Coming back to the same tracks is definitely important. 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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How McLaren managed Piastri’s first stint in Shanghai

Lap: 4/56 PIA: 1’42.247
Stallard One to two tenths to find in turn two, consider the line.
Lap: 5/56 PIA: 1’42.227
Stallard Opportunity turn seven slightly earlier throttle lift, protect the tyres there for turn nine.
Lap: 6/56 PIA: 1’42.608
Stallard Oscar, how are the tyres? Russell 0.7.
Piastri They’re okay.
Lap: 7/56 PIA: 1’42.376
Stallard Alonso ahead is starting to struggle on tyres. Opportunity for us: We’re challenging the entry to turn three a bit too much in the tail wind there. Carrying more entry speed and sharper turn-in currently.
Lap: 8/56 PIA: 1’42.627
Stallard Turn 14, let’s keep managing the rear slip. Looks high.
Lap: 10/56 PIA: 1’42.658
Stallard Oscar, we are on the target lap. How are the tyres compared to the sprint? Pace looks quick.
Piastri [Unclear] feels better than the sprint. More rear deg.
Stallard And flap adjust if you were repeating the stint?
Lap: 11/56 PIA: 1’43.456
Piastri Same.
Stallard Copy. We’re thinking Plan A.
Stallard Keep managing pace through turn seven.
Lap: 12/56 PIA: 1’42.975
Stallard Plan is still target lap, Plan A. Try and recover the tyres.
Stallard Oscar, Alonso and Russell have pitted. Can we keep going to target lap? How’s the tyre?
Piastri Starting to struggle a little bit more now but not too bad still.
Lap: 13/56 PIA: 1’42.871
Stallard Oscar, you seem better on tyres than Alonso and Russell, we think staying out to target lap is good.
Lap: 14/56 PIA: 1’43.139
Stallard Oscar, if we pit, it will be into tropic around Stroll. Do you prefer Plan A or B? Stroll is on a medium tyre, four laps old.
Piastri How many of other cars are they around?
Stallard It’ll be in a pack of Stroll, Hulkenberg and currently Magnussen.
Piastri Medium then.
Lap: 15/56 PIA: 1’42.645
Stallard Hulkenberg last lap is a 42.1. If we can match those, that’s good.
Stallard 100% pace.
Lap: 16/56 PIA: 1’47.643
Stallard So Oscar on our pit window currently is Magnussen from the race start, 15-lap-old hards.
Stallard Overtake available.
Stallard Box. Box, box.
Piastri Copy. Box.

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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...

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9 comments on “Piastri’s development has “accelerated” since Chinese GP – McLaren”

  1. Its a travesty that he had to sit ont he sidelines for a year. Alpine you are a mess..

    1. He didn’t have to. He could have the ambition to test himiself on a serious adult racing championship, but he chose not to.

  2. Race pace still lacking a bit to rival Norris’s, so i expect “let Lando through” to still happen in the future, in particular because his qualy form is on par, if not better than Norris already.

    1. Race pace still lacking a bit to rival Norris’s, so i expect “let Lando through” to still happen in the future, in particular because his qualy form is on par, if not better than Norris already.

      A while back people were talking about the competition Lando would have with drivers in other teams and what he needed to do to deal with that, I pointed out that Lando needs to keep an eye on his primary competition – across the garage…

      Piastri shows every sign of being the top driver in that team in the not too distant future.

      1. @stevep

        Piastri shows every sign of being the top driver in that team in the not too distant future.

        Not yet he doesn’t. He’s quick on Saturday’s, but Norris is quick when it actually matters.

        1. @nvherman I don’t fully agree about Norris. As much as I like him, Norris isn’t always delivering when it matters. Minor mistakes yes, but costly when fighting for victories. And I think he admits that too.

          1. @matthijs Piastri has only finished ahead of Norris twice in 8 rounds, one of which was Monaco where no could overtake on track anyway. But apart from that, Piastri is generally nowhere near Norris by the end of a Grand Prix.

          2. @nvherman I agree with you. But I think that Norris is not looking behind ad Piastri but looking ahead at Max. And he is not quite there yet, and neither is McLaren. McLaren is arguably at the same speed of Red Bull the last 4 races and Norris ‘only’ won one of the four. I really hope Norris can up his game once more.

  3. Piastri must be very glad that he chose McLaren over Alpine.

Comments are closed.