Piastri dismisses McLaren regret claims
By Ian Parkes
Saturday 18th March, 2023 - 6:00am
Oscar Piastri has dismissed social media claims he is now living to regret his switch to McLaren following the F1 team’s wretched start to the season.
McLaren has made no bones about the fact it failed to hit its targets over the winter in terms of development, which has left the MCL60 lagging behind its rivals.
Piastri and team-mate Lando Norris were further undermined, however, by unreliability in the season-opening grand prix in Bahrain, with the Melburnian, in particular, retiring after just 13 laps.
That naturally sparked suggestions Piastri would be lamenting leaving Alpine last season for McLaren, a move that made headlines given its contentious nature that culminated in the Contract Recognition Board being forced to make a ruling.
The 21-year-old is adamant, however, such remarks could not be any further from the truth.
“For me, it was never really a decision of (being between) the two teams,” said Piastri. “It never really came down to that.
“The rest of the details are obviously very out there and have been on rinse and repeat a lot.
“But for me, it was clear that I wanted to join McLaren, with the amount of passion that they showed to having me in the team.
“That was a massive, massive factor, so I don’t really view it in the same light.
“Obviously, I’m very focused on where I am now, trying to help the team move forward and get back to where it wants to be.”
Aston Martin should “energise” McLaren
In contrast to McLaren’s failure with its development plan, Aston Martin has shown what can be achieved.
After finishing seventh in last season’s constructors’ championship, the team has seemingly catapulted itself into being second quickest behind Red Bull.
For the first three races of this season, McLaren is effectively plodding through as best it can before unveiling the first part of its aggressive upgrades from the fourth event in Azerbaijan.
Piastri feels McLaren can take a leaf out of Aston Martin’s book.
“We’re obviously not where we want to be at the moment, and we’ve been very open about that,” remarked Piastri.
“We’ve a good development plan in place to try and get ourselves back to where we should be, which is chasing the top three or four teams.
“To get on the same level as those top three or four teams is difficult, but we can probably take inspiration from what Aston Martin has been able to do over the winter.
“We need to try and energise ourselves, that it is possible to make that jump with a lot of hard work.
“We’ll see what these new developments we’ve got in Baku bring for us, but obviously, it’s going to be a step in what is a multi-step plan throughout the year.”
In Friday’s practice sessions for this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Piastri was 14th quickest in FP1, 1.874s adrift of Verstappen, and then only 19th in FP2, 1.361s behind the Red Bull driver.