McLaren has full praise for Oscar Piastri and his improvements on tyre management side after going through extensive learning since 2023.

The one area where Piastri wanted to improve for F1 2024 was his tyre management which ailed him in 2023 and where he lost out to Lando Norris on several occasions. The Pirelli tyres are always tricky to get the hang of and rookies have to take the extra mile.

While Piastri did struggle a bit with graining in the middle stint in F1 Australian GP, but overall he did well to hang on to fourth, keeping the likes of Mercedes and Aston Martin at bay – even Red Bull’s Sergio Perez for that matter.

McLaren team boss Andrea Stella was impressed by Piastri’s drive where the were comparing him and Norris in their stint. “Very, very good, very good, because in this delicate situation, with graining front and graining rear, he did very well,” he said.

“And the apparent pace difference in the second stint is just because he pitted so early, if that makes sense. But actually, if you take the final stint, where they pit closer together, then Lando and Oscar go pretty much at the same pace. So, compared to if we think like… even compared to last year here in Australia, or even Japan and the stuff – Japan was later – some other places at the start of the season like we’ve gone a long way forward.

“And it’s extremely encouraging to think that this is only coming at the start of the second season. Like if you think how much he has to cash in more in terms of improvement – I think it looks very strong for the future from Oscar point of view,” summed up Stella, who then elaborated on the six month’s work undertaken by Piastri.

The Italian highlights the experience gained over 2023 running at different tracks and evaluating himself where he could have done things differently. Stella states that Piastri is more aware about things of what he shouldn’t be doing in the races to degrade the tyres hugely.

“I think there’s multiple factors,” continued Stella. “Certainly, what we call experience means that you go through the situations, you make experience of the situations, and then you absorb the information. And you say, ‘I should have done this’, or ‘I should have done this’. This worked well, and this didn’t. So we have gone through situations.

“And we elaborated that. And that is it’s own process. And then you work together with your engineers to sort of extract the information that is relevant to actually understand how to adapt. And when I talk about adapting, this is not adapting to when a problem starts. This is adapting to prevent the problem to start, if that makes sense.

“So you sort have to understand from the context, that ‘oh, this context would lead to this problem’ before the problem actually manifests itself. But when you are a rookie, you need to sort of lead into the problem and then realize how you got there. So, I think that’s the mechanism where he is now much more aware that some conditions will lead to some problems.

“So when he was driving the tyres around I think he was feeling that if you overdo the front tyre a little bit then the tires are not going to be happy from a graining point of view. So you start to understand like where is the limit potentially, even going one kph slower – but don’t do this. If that makes sense. It’s a fine tuning, almost like a self calibration exercise through experience.”

Here’s McLaren trio on Australian GP situations

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