McLaren F1 boss Stella compares Oscar Piastri to Fernando Alonso: “In Oscar I see his powerful mind”

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The 2023 Formula 1 season came to a close on the last weekend of November with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. This year, many teams surprised everyone, one of them undoubtedly being McLaren, who had a nightmare first part of 2023.

Massive changes to the car allowed them to be generally competitive from Austria onwards, with the Woking-based team closing a deficit of over 100 points to Aston Martin to pass them for P4 in the standings.

Woking team boss Andrea Stella, was on hand to comment on the team’s season: “For us, for McLaren, it’s been a positive season. Exhausting, we’re feeling the fatigue, but at the same time we have nice feelings plus satisfaction for these results we’re getting. We are proud of what we have achieved.”

Despite feeling very proud of his squad, Stella, while keeping his feet on the ground, admitted that both Max Verstappen and Red Bull are on another level and that, for the time being, McLaren should focus on where they can be more competitive: “I think Max Verstappen is completely out of place. To think that’s there and that we can fight with Red Bull because they are so strong. Look at what they’ve achieved this year and I’m sure they’ve still got a lot more to deploy, as if they could take another step.

“We better stick to our own thing, keep our internal journey and see where we can be more competitive.”

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing

Speaking about his drivers, the Italian team principal started with Piastri, who he described as a talented and intelligent guy, and he even compared him Fernando Alonso. Stella worked as the Spaniard’s race engineer at Ferrari and the duo continued working together during the two-time World Champion’s second period at McLaren.

“Oscar is talented and let me say intelligent. His brain capacity is very high. He has very interesting characteristics. I would say he is very calm. Lando is already one of the best drivers on the grid. He is very fast, very good in the race, with tyre management.

“When we talk about being the most complete, I definitely think of Fernando Alonso. He has basically no weaknesses. I think this makes him unique. He is not the best in many areas, but he is very strong in all areas. I think in Oscar I see his powerful mind. He is definitely like Fernando. He can do mathematical calculations while driving.”

The Orvieto native also referred to Lando Norris as one of the best drivers on the grid and said that if the Bristol youngster had a better car, he could be champion and not only that, he also admitted that he believes Norris could become like Alonso: “I think his (Lando’s) development as a driver will make him become as complete. He reminds me a bit of Fernando.”

Finally, the Woking boss confessed that his top three drivers with the same car would be Verstappen, Alonso and Norris, leaving out seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton: “My top three drivers with the same car would be Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso.”