Andrea Stella, McLaren Formula 1 team principal, applauded the Australian rookie driver, Oscar Piastri. He claims that the rookie has shown “really strong progress” in his F1 debut season.
During the season opener in Bahrain, Piastri faced a series of setbacks costing him Q2. He also admitted to his mistakes which cost him qualification Q3. Subsequently, he encountered an electrical issue in the early stages of the race which makes him frustrated.
However, in Jeddah he made it to Q3 and qualified in top ten. His team-mate Lando Norris on the other hand damaged his car in Q1.
The drivers had to pit early for front wing damage, which cost the Australian 6 places on the grid.
Stella appreaciated Piastri’s ability to improve despite difficult races. Moreover, he also acknowledged the need of a better car for both drivers.
“We have seen really strong progress by Oscar,” Stella told. “Obviously, Lando is a complete certainty. So we know that Lando is there.
“So there’s some positives, but for me the message stays the same. We need to work hard to improve the car and go back racing where we should belong.”
Stell believes that Piastri has made gradual improvement rather than a big step forward.
“I wouldn’t say that he took a big step,” said the Italian. “For me it’s going steady progress session-by-session.
“But like if you look back, already in FP1 he was a little bit more competitive than Bahrain, then FP2 closer, then FP3 pretty much a match for Lando, capitalising in qualifying, and then very strong in the race.
“For me, I see more the sense of constant progression, which is ultimately the plan that we have with Oscar.”
Piastri is set to make his debut in a Formula 1 car at his home venue for the very first time. Stella conceded that the Australian Grand Prix is critical for the driver. However, he rejected the notion that the driver need protection from the team to reduce expectations.
“He is a very calm guy, I think he will be able to keep himself in the bubble,” Stella explained.
“But certainly we’ll have to make sure that he can stay focused on racing, and he can stay focused on keeping up with this exceptional rate of development session after session.”