Piastri hopeful for “a moderate step in performance” from his MCL60

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Photo Credit: McLaren Racing

McLaren’s start to 2023 has been somewhat of a disappointment. They admitted they were “not entirely happy” with their launch spec version of their MCL60 after missing key development targets over the winter, but are hopeful that long awaited updates can help turn around their season.

With a series of upgrades on the McLaren car for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the Australian rookie Piastri admitted that the car is now what they should have started the season with.

“The point on it being where we wanted to start the season with it is very true.”

The Woking-based team now have more potential to build on the performance of their car for the season ahead having addressed the issues that had cost them relative to their midfield rivals in the opening rounds of the year.

Piastri is realistic however in the hope of moving up the grid as it’s all relative to what other teams bring to the table in terms of performance.

“There are going to be other teams on the grid with upgrades so there will be plenty of other teams that go quicker as well.

“For us this is the first step in many for this year, it’s not going to be a magic bullet that gets us to the top of the grid, so it should be a moderate step in performance.”

This weekend sees Formula 1 introduce a new Sprint Format where the teams will only have one-hour practice before qualifying for Sunday’s race. This is something that teams are wary of when testing new parts this weekend.

However Piastri is not fazed by only one practice session as he highlights that the car’s drivability won’t change dramatically with these upgrades but rather give more performance.

“In some ways it’s something I’m used to, in F2 and F3, 45 minutes of practice followed by straight into quali.

“I think from what we’re expecting it should be the same set up items we’d change on a normal race weekend, optimising ride heights and whatever else.”

Reflecting on the season so far Piasti is happy with his personal performances.

“On the most part I’ve been quite happy with it, the learning curve has been quite big.

“The stand out for me has been reaching Q3 in Saudi, that was a massive confidence boost. Then the race in Melbourne — getting those first points was nice,” Piastri concluded.