Piastri encouraged by McLaren upgrades

Oscar Piastri was encouraged by the upgrades McLaren debuted in Azerbaijan

Oscar Piastri was encouraged by the upgrades McLaren debuted in Azerbaijan

Oscar Piastri has been encouraged by the gains made by McLaren after it introduced upgrades at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Piastri finished 11th in Baku after battling illness across the weekend and being tagged on the opening lap.

Team-mate Lando Norris was ninth to the flag as McLaren extended the gap to top Alpine for fifth in the constructors’ championship standings.

That was helped by a suite of upgrades that included a new floor, rear wing, and beam wing – a total of six new elements.

“I think with the upgrades we’ve done, it’s definitely an improvement,” said Piastri.

“I think the tarmac here probably helped us a little bit as well.

“Obviously, other teams are bringing upgrades as well, so we’ve got to out-deliver them to make some more gains.

“Definitely helped this weekend and should help the next few races as well.”

McLaren started the 2023 season with a car that had missed its development targets over the winter.

That has prompted an ‘aggressive’ development push while behind the scenes, a shakeup amongst the technical ranks has seen James Key depart the team.

The MCL60 remains a way off the front of the field, but the upgrades were encouragingly in line with expectations.

“It was more or less as we expected,” Piastri confirmed.

“It was a pretty seamless upgrade this weekend, and balance-wise, it was very similar, just quicker, which is what we expected.

“To challenge the top four teams, we still need a few more steps,” he added.

“Alpine didn’t have a great weekend this weekend, I’m sure they’ll be stronger at other tracks but I think we can definitely be encouraged by this weekend.

“I don’t think we can get ahead of ourselves but I think it’s on the right track, and to be scoring points now whilst we still try to play catch up a little bit, it’s encouraging.”

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