McLaren boss praises Piastri’s progress

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McLaren boss Andrea Stella believes Oscar Piastri has taken a huge step forward in the development of race management and sees scope for further evolution.

Stella praised Piastri’s progress in tire management, one of the weaknesses that hampered the Australian in his debut season in Formula 1. After a strong performance from McLaren in the Australian GP, ​​with Lando Norris third and Piastri fourth, Stella assessed that the Australian had a ‘great run’ despite high tire degradation during the race.

“Even compared to Australia last year, or even Japan and other places at the start of last season, we have come a long way,” he said. “It’s extremely exciting to think that this is happening at just the start of his second season in the category.”

“While he was preserving the tires, I think he felt that if he put too much pressure on the front tire, they would suffer from degradation,” Stella said. He also highlighted Piastri’s keen awareness of his potential vulnerabilities on a race weekend, and his ability to identify solutions to correct these weaknesses.

“When I talk about adaptation, it’s not about adapting when a problem starts. It’s about adapting to prevent the problem from happening,” said Stella. “You need to understand from the context that ‘this situation will lead to this problem,’ before the problem actually manifests itself.”

“But when you’re a beginner, you have to kind of face the problem and then realize how you got there. So I think it’s in that mechanism that he’s now much more aware that some conditions will lead to some problems. It’s a fine tuning, almost like a self-calibration exercise through experience,” Stella added.

Despite leading from third place during his home race following a tire change overtake on Norris, McLaren used team orders to ensure the Briton finished ahead of his teammate. According to Stella, the decision was aimed at minimizing the risks of a possible fight between the two McLaren cars, as he felt that Norris overtaking Piastri would ‘happen naturally’.

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