McLaren ‘feels like home’ for F1 rookie Piastri

Oscar Piastri at the wheel of the 2021-spec F1 McLaren MCL35M at Paul Ricard

Oscar Piastri at the wheel of the 2021-spec F1 McLaren MCL35M at Paul Ricard. Picture: McLaren Racing Twitter

Oscar Piastri says McLaren “feels like home” ahead of his maiden F1 season with the orange operation.

He and team-mate Lando Norris both tested a 2021-spec McLaren MCL35M ahead of F1 pre-season getting underway on Thursday.

The pair have been on track in Barcelona, Paul Ricard, and Silverstone as preparations ramp up ahead of the new season. Norris yesterday completed a shakedown test of the MCL60 in Bahrain.

For Piastri, the additional running has afforded a way to integrate into his new team and build a relationship with those he’ll be working with this year.

“It feels normal to be in papaya now,” he said in an article on McLaren’s official website.

“It feels like home, and it is really nice to go out there.

“It will be even better when I am in the proper race car, it will be really special.

“I have done a few of these tests now and am getting to know everyone well,” he added.

“It’s useful to be working with my trackside engineers, mechanics and the rest of the race team.

“It’s good to bond with them, work on our comms terminology, and get on the same page.

“We are getting to know each other better, and it has been a good exercise.”

Piastri sampled an older-spec McLaren ahead of last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a private test with the team at Paul Ricard.

He then took part in the post-season test in Yas Marina, his first laps in what was then a contemporary F1 machine.

The outings abroad the MCL35M are targeting to build towards Round 1 of the season, while Piastri has been busy working on his own condition during the European winter.

“The G-Force on your neck is probably the biggest difference from the junior categories, so I have been training that a lot,” he explained.

“I have done a lot of neck training and quite a lot of cardio work as well.

“I also did a few days in a go-kart over winter to keep sharp and get out on track and drive something.

“I feel that the tests have been very good.

“It was a lot of fun and helped to get my body used to driving an F1 car again, but it is mostly just nice to get back out there – everyone is refreshed and ready to go. I know I certainly am.

“I have tried to learn as much as possible before the season starts.”

Piastri’s first opportunity to sample the MCL60 will come during testing, which begins in Bahrain tomorrow.

A total of three days of running will be split between Piastri and Norris before the racing season itself kicks off next weekend.

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