Piastri to find limited F1 testing ‘a little bit tougher’

Oscar Piastri has just a day and a half of pre-season testing before his F1 debut

Oscar Piastri has just a day and a half of pre-season testing before his F1 debut

Oscar Piastri will this week formally commence on-track preparations with pre-season testing in Bahrain ahead of his maiden season in F1.

The Australian has joined Lando Norris at McLaren for the coming year, with the pair sharing the MCL60 they unveiled last week.

The 21-year-old now faces just three days of preparation with the team, with track running shared with Norris, ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix early next month.

Piastri has some experience in contemporary ‘wing’ F1 cars after driving the 2022 Alpine during a filming day before his acrimonious split with the Enstone squad.

He also drove the McLaren in post-season testing in Abu Dhabi last year, logging more than 100 important laps ahead of his debut campaign.

Limited testing miles for Piastri

“It’s obviously not much time to get used to the car,” he said when asked about the limited running by Speedcafe.com.

“And obviously, it’s a brand new car for the team as well, so the engineers will want to do a lot of their own programme as well finding out about the car.

“But it’s the same for all of us. Obviously, as a rookie, it’s a little bit tougher coming in but I think that’s just one of the challenges that I have to face.

“I’m sure that with the team around me, we’ll try and get up to speed as quickly as we can and learn as much as possible in that day and a half.”

Across the garage, Norris is embarking on his fifth season in F1, but his first as the established team leader.

Even allowing for his comparative wealth of experience compared to Piastri, he is aware of how precious seat time will be.

“It’s not a lot. One and a half days is really not a lot,” he said of dividing the three days of running between a team’s two drivers.

“It’s a time when you want to be able to try things, it’s a time when you have to get comfortable, when you have to get through aero programmes, get an understanding of the car, find the limit with the car…

“There’s a lot to achieve both from the team side and understanding it but also from my side, as the driver, to get to the limit and to find the limit quickly.”

Stable rules a blessing

Helping the cause for Norris and Piastri is the fact technical regulations have remained largely stable.

As a result, much of the learning gleaned in 2022 can be carried across, even if the nuances and detail surrounding that have progressed.

“Thankfully, not too many things have changed in terms of rules and regulations, or they’re so small, so it should be something we can get up to speed relatively quickly on,” Norris noted.

“But one and a half days before the first weekend of the season is really not much at all. It’s going to be a challenge.

“There are a lot of things I want to try separately, which takes time to understand and to adapt to within the car but hopefully then sets up for a better season.

“So yeah, probably a pretty hectic schedule, in terms of testing.”

Pre-season running in Bahrain begins on February 23.

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