Oscar Piastri is ‘not concerned’ he’ll suffer the same struggles as Daniel Ricciardo

Michelle Foster
Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo standing with a mural. Melbourne April 2022.

Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo standing with a mural of them and Mark Webber. Melbourne April 2022.

Signed to McLaren, replacing Daniel Ricciardo after the Aussie struggled to adapt to McLaren’s F1 cars, Oscar Piastri is “not concerned” he’ll suffer a similar fate.

Last season McLaren and Ricciardo announced they were calling time on their partnership two years into the Aussie’s three-year contract.

Simply put, the results weren’t coming with the driver baffled by his struggles and unable to find a way through.

His exit opened the door for his compatriot, Piastri signed as his replacement.

The 2021 Formula 2 driver steps up onto the F1 grid after a year on the sidelines as Alpine’s reserve driver. Prior to that, though, he won three successive championship titles in different series.

As such he “not concerned” about struggling to adapt at McLaren.

“I think, firstly, it’s obviously a shame that things didn’t work out between the team and Daniel,” Reuters quotes him as having said during McLaren’s launch.

“I think from that aspect I’m not concerned.

“I’ve obviously done a bit of testing in the 2021 car, and the post-season test last year with McLaren, so I know a little bit what to expect.

“But I think as a driver you always need to adapt; there’s always going to be certain things that are maybe not going to suit you quite as well as you want.

“You always want more grip and more power! I think there’s always some limitations, it’s just how you can drive around those.”

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He also isn’t worried that his year on the sidelines will hold him back.

“I think coming into F1 from any racing, there was always going to be a period of adaptation,” he said.

“The cars are much faster, the people I’m racing against are the best drivers in the world, so regardless of whether I had a year off, that was always going to be a challenge.”

Piastri will make up one half of the youngest line-up on the 2023 grid, the 21-year-old partnering Lando Norris.

But even though the Briton is only 23 years of age, this season marks the six-time podium finisher’s fifth year on the grid.

Piastri is looking forward to the challenge.

“I think in terms of [going] up against Lando, there’s going to be natural comparisons being in the same car,” Piastri said, “but I think we’re obviously at very different stages of our career – Lando is entering his fifth year, I’m entering my first.

“I’m not drawing on it too much. I think it will be good to have him as a team-mate, and a good benchmark. He’s obviously established himself as a great driver in F1, and I’m sure I’ll be able to learn a lot from him.”

Piastri and Norris will have their first official run in the MCL60 in Bahrain next week, Formula 1 hosting a three-day group test from February 23-25.