Oscar Piastri believes McLaren have the right team on board to be a success

Sam Cooper
Zak Brown, Andrea Stella and Oscar Piastri watch on as the 2023 McLaren car is fired up. Woking, January 2023.

Zak Brown, Andrea Stella and Oscar Piastri watch on as the 2023 McLaren car is fired up. Woking, January 2023.

With the new hires and restructure, Oscar Piastri believes everything is in place for the team to become a success once again.

It has been a long time since the Woking outfit tasted the kind of glory often associated with McLaren.

Their last win came in 2021 with a driver they paid to leave just a season later. It has been 25 years since they won the last of their eight Consturcors Championsjos’ and Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 victory was the last title success they exeprienced.

Having recovered from the dark days of the mid 2010s, the team looked on the rise until the new regulations of 2022 sent them back down to earth. They missed out on P4 to Alpine and to finish that high in 2023 already looks a step too far.

It seems then that McLaren are in a transition phase of their 60-year life. Two young drivers on board but also major changes behind-the-scenes including a new technical team and staff poaches from Ferrari and Red bUll.

Perhaps then that is why Piastri, a rookie in F1, believes the team is well set to return to its former glory.

“Of course the start of this year has been difficult,” he told the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com. “Although we have made a lot of changes behind the scenes that people don’t see – changes to the car, but also in terms of personnel. A lot of things have been tweaked and we hope to reap the benefits of that soon.

“For instance, the new simulator is currently in the final correlation phase before we can use it and the new wind tunnel is also almost ready. Of course, those are already two very big things for a team right away.

“Furthermore, we have had a large-scale restructuring within the team, which I think is only positive. With Rob Marshall from Red Bull we have brought a very good force to the team and with the new structure that Andrea Stella has put in place, I think we can also get even more out of the talent we already have on board. In that respect, I have a really good feeling about what is changing in our team now. There are so many interesting things happening within McLaren, we just need a bit more time to show it.”

But the odds are not exactly stacked in their favour. From 2026, they will be one of just four customer teams and there are rumours surrounding the future of Lando Norris whose current deal expires at the end of 2025. Piastri though believes team principal Andrea Stella’s experience will prove crucial.

“Of course, I have only just started, so I am still mainly looking at ways to improve myself as a driver. But absolutely, the car is obviously a crucial factor,” the Australian said. “You can be the very best driver in the world, but if you don’t have the car to do it, it’s just not going to happen. It’s as simple as that.

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“But I definitely think we have that potential at McLaren. How long it’s going to take? I’m not sure about that. We have all these changes within the team and the infrastructure of the team.

“Also, I think it helps that Andrea Stella himself has worked at all sorts of championship-winning teams. He has worked with Michael Schumacher at Ferrari and has also worked with Fernando Alonso. I am impressed by how he can motivate the team. He also knows exactly how to point out in which respects we are strong and weak right now. Towards Lando and me, he is very honest about that. As said, we just need more time.

“Whether a new regulation is necessary, I don’t really know. Hopefully we can make a nice step before 2026, although of course we have a gap to close, you have to be honest like that. But if you look from 2021 to 2022, then engineers all said it would be the biggest change we have ever seen in Formula 1. But after that time, all the teams – apart from Mercedes – were basically still just in the same place.

“Aston Martin did make a move last winter, but with the rule change towards 2022, everyone more or less stayed in the same position. As a result, I actually think that the underlying structure of a team and the way it works are even more important than a rule change. We are working very hard on those things at the moment and what I see within McLaren makes me feel positive.”