Autosport (UK)



With the Formula 1 grid being identical to how the season finished in 2023, that zaps the upcoming campaign of certain narratives: how some drivers might settle into a new team, or whether a rookie will thrive or dive at the highest level. But that underwhelm­ing situation can be cast aside considerin­g the progress that the undisputed rookie star of 2023 might make in his second F1 season.

Oscar Piastri is heading into his second year at Mclaren and has already shown plenty of superstar potential.

The 22-year-old impressed the team with his nous and big capacity to learn last year, while his regular efforts to improve from quiet practice showings to deliver often devastatin­g qualifying performanc­es against as rapid a team-mate as Lando Norris demonstrat­es that the Australian knows how to peak at exactly the right time in a weekend. This is a trait shared by many motorsport greats.

He’s got a smooth and precise driving style, which reflects his seemingly unflappabl­e nature outside the car. Plus, there’s that glorious deadpan delivery of specific soundbites, which reflects both his character charms and inner toughness. The smooth steering inputs also provide a good starting point to improve on in-race tyre management, where Norris maintained a critical edge through 2023.

Recently departed Alphatauri team boss Franz Tost famously insisted that F1 drivers had three seasons to show their potential or face a brutal exit. Well, Piastri, with his searing Suzuka qualifying showing, two rookie GP podiums and narrow pace gap to Norris on qualifying averages, has already shown his worth. Now that he knows the entire calendar bar the returning Chinese GP, that should provide a brilliant springboar­d to further success.

 ?? ?? Piastri’s strong rookie season proved his F1 star potential
Piastri’s strong rookie season proved his F1 star potential
 ?? ?? Alex Kalinaucka­s
Alex Kalinaucka­s

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