Piastri: McLaren has maximised early-season package

Oscar Piastri believes McLaren has maximised its early-season potential

Oscar Piastri believes McLaren has maximised its early-season potential. Picture: Coates / XPB Images

Oscar Piastri believes McLaren has done the best it could have with the performance its car has had in the opening rounds of 2023.

The squad sits sixth in the constructors’ championship with an MCL60 that has proved temperamental.

While it excels in cooler conditions, it struggles when the temperature rises and at circuits with low- and medium-speed corners.

The team knows and acknowledges those weaknesses with an upgrade package set to be introduced across the next three races.

“I’m excited for what’s to come in the future, and the not-too-distant future now, which is nice,” Piastri said.

“I feel like, as a team, we’ve done a very good job of getting the most out of the package we have at the moment.

“I think the last three weekends, really, we’ve had five out of six Q3 appearances – and I was 11th in the one that didn’t make it.

“So it’s been a good string of races for the team on Saturdays.”

Qualifying performance has been a strength resulting from a car that is otherwise harder on its tyres than its rivals.

That results in fast warm-up and, therefore, good single-lap pace, but invariably leads to higher degradation and loss of performance in the race – or the need for Piastri and team-mate Lando Norris to manage their pace to protect the tyres.

“Sundays, I think we still need some work, but we know that and we’re working on it,” Piastri conceded.

“Obviously, the conditions the last few weekends haven’t been standard either, so I think maybe we’ve capitalised on that.

“I think in Barcelona especially we saw how our car works in those conditions, and even in Q2 [in Canada] that’s a similar story.

“So I think we’ve done a very good job of maximising what we can at the moment, and I’m very excited for the upgrades to come in the future.”

F1 heads to the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix, with the first round of upgrades set to be deployed by McLaren.

More will follow a week later at the British Grand Prix, with the ‘B-spec’ upgrade being completed with another wave of parts for the Hungarian Grand Prix two weeks later.

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