Oscar Piastri is a ‘man of few words’ but McLaren have been ‘impressed with his rants’

Michelle Foster
Oscar Piastri at McLaren MCL60 launch. February 2023.

Oscar Piastri doesn’t say much but when he does it’s the “right words”, that’s according to his new team boss Andreas Stella.

The 21-year-old Australian is one of three rookie drivers on this year’s grid having opted to cut ties with Alpine to sign with McLaren.

Piastri hasn’t had the quietest arrival, the 2021 Formula 2 champ not only embroiled in a contract saga but also coming in for some stick for replacing his compatriot Daniel Ricciardo.

But while all that’s been going on, the driver has been quietly going about his business in helping McLaren prepare for the upcoming season.

So far Stella says he is “very happy and impressed”.

“We say that Oscar is a man of few words, but the right words,” the new McLaren team boss told the media including PlanetF1.com.

“And there’s one characteristic in the interactions we’ve had so far with him that he’s been demanding, but demanding in a very qualified way despite not having even started in Formula 1 yet.

“I already see it will be a very important contributor to elevating the standards, the way we do things are at eye level, which is a positive factor.

“Also, we’ve been impressed with his rants, for instance in the simulator for the way he’s been finding performance, just the level of awareness he when he drives.

“And so, so far, very happy and impressed.”

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‘Unhappy’ Oscar Piastri shares trait with former champs

Stella believes in Piastri he sees similarities with some of the “very successful” drivers he has worked with in the past.

That list includes Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, all three past World Champions.

He believes Piastri always being “a little unhappy” is a trait he shares with them.

“I worked with some very successful drivers in the past,” Stella explained. “And one characteristic is they are always a little unhappy.

“Like you are only happy when you see that you will converge to what your ambitions are.

“And this sense of little unhappiness, obviously it needs to be intended in racing terms, not talking about personal life but in racing terms.

“I think it’s a very strong drive to pursuing excellence if you allow me to say so. I think I see this characteristic in his attitude.”

No concerns about youngest line-up on the 2023 grid

With Piastri just 21 and his team-mate Lando Norris 23, McLaren have the youngest combined driver pairing on the 2023 grid. But age, as the cliché goes, is but a number.

Stella is confident that in Norris he has a driver who has grown into the team leadership role while Piastri can only be an asset to the team.

“Lando is entering the fifth season but I personally think,” Stella said, “and I have good references coming from my direct experience, he’s well established.

“He’s understanding of himself, he’s understanding of the needs, he’s understanding of the team and his grown into a position which is more of a leadership in the team, which is what we want from Lando.

“I think that gives us some very strong references.

“When it comes to Oscar, he’s a very mature person. So far we’ve been very impressed.

“There’s always a challenge with a new driver but I think we have learnt a lot over time, and definitely we have paid quite a lot of attention in getting the right focus when you deal with a new driver.

“So it’s a young pair when you look at the age, but I think with Lando we are in a strong position. And with Oscar we have a very strong asset.”