Zak Brown and Andrea Stella on “demanding” Oscar Piastri

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Speaking at the McLaren launch earlier this week, McLaren CEO Zak Brown and Team Principal Andrea Stella were questioned on what makes newcomer Oscar Piastri “so good”:

Picture: McLaren Racing

Piastri joins McLaren following an impressive junior career, as Zak Brown notes below. The Australian won the FIA Formula 3 and Formula 2 championships in consecutive years back in 2020 and 2021.

“His track record through the junior Formulas has been very, very impressive, very similar to Lando’s in winning the majority of his championships his first time around which is a good sign of someone who has extreme talent,” said Brown.

“He is a very serious, focused young man. I spent my first time of getting to know him obviously through the middle of last year and I thought how he conducted himself, carried himself in light of what were inappropriate, inaccurate accusations around…you should say his loyalty – which is now proven to be fully in his right to look after his career and sign with McLaren, cos that would be… that’s a lot of pressure to put on a young driver and so I thought the way he carried himself, what we’ve seen is that’s how he carries himself in his day to day business – very focused, very inquisitive, very calm.

“I’d probably hand over to Andrea cos he kinda went from the business side with me to the racing side with Andrea, but I think you’ve seen the same characteristics come through in his racing activities.”

Stella gave his own opinions and says the young Australian is demanding – but not in a negative way.

“We say Oscar is a man of few words, but the right words. And the one characteristic that we have seen so far in our interactions with him is being demanding, but demanding in a very qualified way, despite not having even started in Formula One yet, which I see will be a very important contributor to elevating the standards, the way we do things at high level which is a very positive factor also we have been impressed with his runs in the simulator, for the way he has been finding performance, the level of awareness in the way he drives and so far very happy and impressed.”

While the McLaren CEO clearly sounds like he is still aggrieved over the Alpine/Piastri saga last year it sounds like the young Australian is eager to make his mark on the Woking outfit – rightly so given how deeply entrenched teammate Lando Norris is in the team at this stage. Piastri will have to work hard to make his voice heard within the wider McLaren family that knows Norris so well. The young pairing should make for one of the more interesting team dynamics to watch for the season ahead, with Norris having been such a central figure for a few years now and Piastri wanting to show he is not just a number two driver, but someone who has to potential to challenge for championships in years to come.