Oscar Piastri: We need to understand why our speed varies between days

Piastri discussed McLaren's impressive showing in Shanghai

by Sead Dedovic
Oscar Piastri: We need to understand why our speed varies between days
© Mark Thompson/Getty Images Sport

McLaren's inconsistency this season has sparked various debates among F1 fans. While on one hand, this team excels in some races and shows signs of being at the top, in other races, it is evident that McLaren still has work to do. With two brilliant drivers in their roster, Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris, expectations for this young duo are always high. 

However, sometimes it's not easy to meet such expectations if the car isn't good enough for it. Oscar Piastri expressed concern about the inconsistency of his team this season in a media interview. The Australian believes that the team's leadership must understand where the main problem lies. Predictions for China weren't optimistic. Despite everything, McLaren performed brilliantly in that race, which has given them optimism for the future of the team.

“We need to understand why we're quick on certain days and not quick on other days. I think we've got some good ideas, but we just need to make sure our reasons that we think why we're good are actually why.

We thought we would struggle quite a lot here [in China]. So it's very encouraging that Lando's able to finish second on a track we thought we'd struggle at. It's exciting for what's to come in the future, and with some new parts coming to the car, it's encouraging signs.”- Oscar Piastri said, as quoted by Motorsport.

Piastri discussed McLaren's impressive showing in Shanghai, highlighting the team's inconsistent performances as a puzzle they needed to solve. He pointed out that their success didn't always align with their expectations, regardless of the track layout. Piastri admitted feeling frustrated by the ups and downs but found encouragement in unexpected strong performances. He stressed the need to identify the reasons behind their varying results to make progress.

Oscar Piastri finished the race in eighth place, while his teammate Lando Norris demonstrated serious ambition by finishing second behind Max Verstappen. What's noticeable is that within the team, they don't want to get too excited, aware that each race brings something different, and it's difficult to set expectations for each one.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has been part of the team since 2015 when he joined as the head of race operations. His prior experience at Ferrari was crucial in McLaren's decision to hire him, recognizing Stella as someone who could change the future of the team. Over the course of seven years, he has demonstrated his ambition and quality for various positions, leading to his appointment as the team principal at the end of 2022.

Andrea Stella's Impressions After China 

Reflecting on this season, especially the race in China, Stella explained why his team had such a strong performance.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella suspects that their strong performance in China was due to several factors. He explained that the track didn't pose as much of a challenge for the front tires as it had in the past, particularly since the switch to wider tires. Additionally, favorable weather conditions helped maintain grip on the rear tires, preventing overheating issues. 

Andrea Stella
Andrea Stella© Clive Rose/Getty Images Sport

Stella mentioned that adjustments made to the car's setup after the sprint race also contributed to their improved race pace, prioritizing performance over qualifying speed. Despite being surprised by their decent qualifying results, the changes proved beneficial during the race. Stella stressed that their success was a result of a combination of factors rather than a single solution.

McLaren has shown that it knows how to adapt to various conditions and be ready even when others don't give them such high chances. This is an important advantage for the team, which progresses year after year.

After yet another phenomenal race, Lando Norris shared his impressions. China turned out to be the place where Norris performed at his best this season. He emphasized being surprised by such a result but expressed happiness that his team succeeded in various aspects, highlighting the importance of finishing the race in second place.

“Surprised, so I’m very happy! I’m happy for the whole team, they deserved it… good pit stops, today just worked out.

I don’t know why, I really wasn’t expecting it to be the kind of race we had today, but I got comfortable, managed the tyres a lot, which was a much easier task than what I had [in the Sprint] yesterday."

The Briton confirmed that the car looked great and that he felt comfortable. Although he didn't expect to outperform Perez, it turned out that Norris has the quality to compete with anyone at the moment. Verstappen is clearly in a league of his own, that must be acknowledged.

Oscar Piastri