Piastri to ‘raise limit’ with upgraded McLaren
By Ian Parkes
Friday 28th April, 2023 - 5:00am
Oscar Piastri claims a raft of upgrades on his McLaren for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix are more about raising the limit and increasing performance as opposed to making it easier to drive.
The MCL60s of both Piastri and team-mate Lando Norris will noticeably sport a revised floor, and will be more in line with the car the team had hoped to unveil at the start of the season, only to fall short of its development targets over the winter.
It is an update that is the first of many in an aggressive push from a team aware it is playing catch up, notably with its midfield rivals rather than looking to hunt down the leading quartet of Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari.
Offering his initial assessment on the package, Piastri said: “I don’t think it should impact the behaviour of the car too much. Hopefully, it just makes us quicker. That’s the plan.
“We’ve obviously gone through with the engineers and the aero guys back at the factory as to where we’re expecting to find time, but it shouldn’t drastically change the balance of the car.”
As to Piastri’s overall expectations, particularly as McLaren will not be the only team with an upgraded car, he added: “Obviously, there are going to be other teams that have upgrades as well.
“We’re not going to be the only one on the grid, so I’m sure there’ll be plenty of other teams that go quicker as well.
“For us, it’s sort of the first step of many for the year. It’s not going to be a magic bullet that gets us to the top of the grid.
“It should be a moderate step of performance, I would say. How much that is compared to the rest of the field then we’ll find out.”
‘New’ McLaren won’t transform weaknesses
From the Australian’s perspective, the least he is hoping for is that he will now be driving a car that will allow him to push its limits higher given both he and Norris have struggled to discover what is possible.
Suggested to Piastri the car over the first three grands prix has been unforgiving to drive, and taking a deeper dive into what the upgrade will provide, he remarked: “It’s more about raising the limit.
“I think this floor is, in some ways, quite different to the floor we had previously and will sort of naturally evolve.
“So that’s why we kind of say it’s the first step of a few, in that sense, and ultimately, it should just bring more performance.
“We’re not expecting it to massively change the balance of the car, like I said.
“From a driveability point of view, I don’t think the car is super uncomfortable. It’s got its weaknesses, as does every car.
“But I don’t think it should massively transform those weaknesses to different areas or anything like that.
“So I think it’s more raising the limit as opposed to making it easier to drive really.”
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