Webber feels Piastri needs more time to make F1 step
By Ian Parkes
Monday 12th June, 2023 - 7:27am
Mark Webber feels Oscar Piastri simply needs more time to make a step up in F1.
After a year on the sidelines last season as reserve driver at Alpine following his championship triumphs in F3 and F2, Piastri’s switch to McLaren has so far not delivered the performances and results he will have hoped for when he joined.
The 22-year-old Australian has, however, performed admirably in a car that is still struggling from being behind in development over the winter.
Although Piastri has only scored points in two of the seven grands prix to date, he has caught the eye with his natural ability and attention to detail, with CEO Zak Brown marking him out as a future champion.
Progress is being made on the car, evidenced by team-mate Lando Norris’ third on the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Piastri started ninth, elevated a position courtesy of a double impeding penalty for Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, although the Melburnian knows that but for a small mistake, he would have been much closer to Norris.
In the race, though, it was “back to reality” according to Piastri for both drivers as he slipped to 13th, whilst Norris was 17th as a consequence of a first-lap collision with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton from which he never recovered.
Asked as to what was now required from Piastri for him to take the next step in F1, speaking to Speedcafe, manager Webber replied: “Just time.
“We’re in Disneyland to say he’s going to go out there and naturally match one of the top three drivers in the world right now in Lando Norris.
“But it’s what he did in qualifying in Monaco, missing out by two hundredths (of a second), and he was close again in Barcelona.
“So time is going to be the best thing that he’s got, and that’s something we can’t buy obviously.
“He just needs more mileage, more laps and more circuits, all those things.
“It’s a brilliant trajectory he’s on, and obviously we’re all extremely proud so far of how he’s adapted.”
Piastri wants quicker start to weekends
From Piastri’s personal perspective, he feels he is too much of a slow starter across a grand prix weekend.
Piastri is confident that if he can get up to speed much quicker than he has been doing so far, he will be in a far healthier position by qualifying, and especially the race.
“In qualifying, I’ve sort of been there or thereabouts for a while now,” said Piastri.
“In practice (in Spain), I wasn’t super happy. P3 I think I made a good step and was happy from the start of quali again.
“So there seems to be a bit of a similar trend in that I’m getting better through the weekend, which is nice when it happens.
“But I still want to be able to get on to the pace a little bit earlier in the weekend, which is still something I’m focusing on.
“When we take the fuel out of the car the grip comes up, which just makes everything a little bit easier as well, being more comfortable.
“But I also want to start driving a bit better earlier in the weekend, too.”