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Formula 1 Bahrain February Testing

The laps that offered McLaren a glimpse of Piastri’s F1 promise

McLaren says Oscar Piastri has delivered signs of his potential in Formula 1 already with a notable series of impressive laps during last week’s pre-season Bahrain test.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

The Australian is making his F1 debut for McLaren at the Bahrain Grand Prix, and had his first proper run in the new MCL60 last week.

Although McLaren is facing some competitive struggles with its new car, that has not stopped Piastri from showing just what he is capable of.

In particular, McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has cited the way in which Piastri made rapid progress in a series of low-fuel runs on the second day of the test as evidence of his potential.

His first effort was a 1m33.973s, and his second effort proved slower. However, his third attempt resulted in a 1m33.878s before a fourth and final push lap brought a 1m33.175s – which would be his fastest time overall for the test.

Speaking about the early experience of Piastri, Stella said: “Oscar is incredibly talented.

“I think we have been able to see already some of these characteristics in the runs we have done on the TPC [testing of a previous car].

“Even during the [Bahrain] test, in the sequence of the soft tyres, he improved massively from one side to the other: just cashing in, capitalising on the learning from one set to the other set. So, these are very promising signs.”

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

With Piastri going up against the highly-rated Lando Norris, McLaren thinks it is important that it does not set targets for the rookie too high.

Instead, it is clear that it just wants to see consistent progress from him through the 2023 campaign.

“What we expect from Oscar, really I don't want to set it in terms of results,” he said. “For me, what's important is, like the car, it is the development rate.

“What's important is to stick into a process rather than [be focused] on the results, because results are a consequence of a process.

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“If you focus too much and too early on some result related objectives, you can be put off, so we try not to do that. Saying you have to be two tenths off Lando, or two tenths better than Lando, we think this is not the right way of approaching this.

“Oscar is very focused on himself. We want the team to support this personal journey, and we will compare to Lando in a functional way.

“You have an overlay in telemetry, and there's always some good information to pick to improve. Let's look at it, but not because we necessarily want to match it. Otherwise, we don't meet our objectives.”

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