Andrea Stella, ‘not concerned’ at Piastri’s lack of experience ahead of the 2023 season.

Despite Oscar Piastri lacking the necessary experience in driving a FIA Formula 1 World Championship car, McLaren’s new boss Andrea Stella believes it will not impact the team’s success in the coming season, as long as Lando Norris remains consistent in setting the reference for the rest of the group.

Back in the summer of 2022, the McLaren driver-up was Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. However, it was unclear whether the Australian would see out his contract, or rookie Oscar Piastri would make the graduation to a Formula 1 seat. After Alpine initially announced Piastri for 2023, he stated that he had no intention of driving for Alpine in 2023, and it seemed all the more likely that Ricciardo’s contract was coming to an early end.

It was well known that Daniel Ricciardo, from the very beginning, had fallen short of the expectations set on him by McLaren CEO Zak Brown. And despite winning McLaren their first race in over 10 years, Ricciardo was swiftly ejected from the McLaren seat to make way for Mark Webber‘s protégé, Oscar Piastri.

Now the team has moved on to a driver that they hope will single the dawn of a new age, some fresh meat for the team in hopes that they’ll catch the top three teams and bring back their competitive streak.

Stella hopes Lando Norris will set an example for Piastri – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Speaking to the media, Andrea Stella, who was appointed McLaren F1 Team principal after Andreas Sidel announced his departure, has spoken openly about Piastri’s level of experience, which surprisingly doesn’t seem to be a huge worry for the team.

Even though Piastri has a huge amount to learn, Stella seems more focused on the example he hopes Norris will set;

“I think the important point is to have continuity with Lando, he keeps the kind of reference,” said Stella, “And it’s a reference that we know very well, because we have gone through the development of Lando together with him.

“And there has certainly been a development from a technical point of view, from a driving point of view, race craft point of view. So I think we know this very well. It will become a frame of reference for Oscar as well. And this is in terms of not only Oscar’s performance himself but also understanding the car.”

Stella stressed that the driver’s role in development before a season is no longer a focal point, and teams now heavily rely on figures and data collected throughout the entire development process.

“We will have a new car, we want to improve some of the things, and drivers are certainly important in relation to that, even though F1, unlike some other sports, relies a lot on numbers, which means we are lucky, as people dealing with that. I think if it was a motorbike it would be more difficult to understand what is the role of the rider here?

“What is the role of the bike? But in F1, you pretty much get a very good idea from the numbers, of what your competitiveness is. With the drivers, you deal with subtleties, the final percentage of your performance, so I wouldn’t be too scared.

“If you give me good numbers, I will take it, even if we don’t have very clear references from the drivers.”

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Stella made it clear that he doesn’t doubt Piastri’s talent or confidence when it comes to driving the car, but is hoping the Australian learns and develops at his own pace, whilst racking up his track miles before the season kicks off in Bahrain.

“The journey we want to take with Oscar is also an independent journey. He’s certainly very talented. And we want him to use his references, references from the car, references even from what we learned with Daniel and so on.

“But we are quite adamant that he will have enough talent, process, intelligence to kind of find his own way, taking advantage of these references.

“So I’m not very concerned at all that we may lose this kind of experience in terms of comparison.”

Oscar Piastri will sport the papaya driving suit in the 2023 season – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd