Stella says Piastri’s “rate of learning is remarkable” in F1

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Photo Credit: McLaren Racing

Oscar Piastri has been a standout rookie this season, being on the pace early on, scoring two podium finishes and standing on the top step of the podium at the sprint race in Qatar. Speaking post-race following the United States Grand Prix at COTA, McLaren Team Principal Andrea was full of praise for the young Aussie and the way he’s improved every race weekend.

Stella spoke about how race pace is something that takes time to perfect, given the lack of testing time. He cited Suzuka as an example when Piastri outqualified Norris, but the Australian was comfortably beaten by the Brit over 53 laps the next day.

“I think even at events, for instance like Japan where he was P2 on the grid, the real challenge here is the actually the race pace, because the race pace is the ability and part of the race craft that you can’t test — and even in practice you can’t do a race stint.

“So you sort of discover in the race and very rapidly to understand what is going on with the tyres, what is going on with the competition, the race situation, adapt and still be quick.”

The Italian boss expressed how usually with a rookie, the race pace takes more time to develop, for the driver to be able to adapt to the changing situations around them with different tyres and conditions, and he says this has been very impressive by Piastri.

“I think that’s normally what comes later in the journey of a rookie. So we are extremely pleased that we are actually ticking the box from a pure speed point of view, and we saw that even in the sprint shootout in Q3, he was actually there with Lando.

“But when it comes to putting laps together, especially in important high deg situations like yesterday in the sprint, that’s where experience is important.”

After a big drop off in pace during the sprint as he struggled with tyres, Stella said it’s another learning curve for Piastri. He spoke about how the first stint on Sunday was a huge improvement on the sprint performance and proves how quickly Piastri learns and adapts.

“I would like to highlight that the objective for today was to capitalise on yesterday’s experience in the sprint, learn from a driving point of view, a tyre management point of view, what we need you to learn and do better today.

“We are happy that we were in a better position today in the first stint, and this confirms that his rate of learning is remarkable,” concluded Stella.