Piastri hails McLaren culture for personal progress
By Ian Parkes
Saturday 11th November, 2023 - 4:30pm
Oscar Piastri has praised the culture inside McLaren for playing a major role in helping him meet F1’s steep learning curve during his rookie season.
McLaren’s hiring of Piastri, with the team fighting rival Alpine for his services last year, has resulted in the Australian delivering a number of strong performances and results, particularly since the introduction of upgrades on the MCL60 from the Austrian GP.
Piastri has impressed the team to such an extent that less than nine months into his debut campaign they rewarded the 22-year-old with a new contract through to the end of 2026.
Piastri claims what he has experienced both behind the scenes and at the circuits over the course of the past year has allowed him to rapidly develop as a driver and personality.
“From the moment I joined the team, I felt there was a very good culture that was very welcoming to me,” when asked by Speedcafe as to what had impressed him about McLaren and aided his swift ascent.
“Even when times were tough, everyone was still very motivated to try and improve the situation, whether that was people in the race team, people in the design office, whoever it may be, they were always still optimistic.
“The confidence that we could turn it around was nice to see. There were a few question marks when we first put the upgrades on the car in Austria and Silverstone, and whether it would give us the kind of gains we were hoping for – and they did.
“Since then the team has been full of confidence that we would be able to keep progressing.
“As I said when I first joined the team, I thought we were ready to compete at the front. We just needed the tools in the car to be able to do it.
“It’s been impressive everywhere, which has also helped me develop as well. It’s been very, very useful.”
As to defining the word ‘culture’, and what that has specifically meant to him, Piastri added: “Simple things, like the friendliness of the team.
“In F1, and in motorsport in general, you have the potential to have a divide on the two sides of the garage, and that’s definitely not the case here.
“We all work together as one team, trying to help each other, starting with Lando and myself trying to help each other, to all the engineers and mechanics.
“The bond, the relationship between everyone is really good to see, and then there are some of the initiatives we have as well, some of the other areas of performance that aren’t necessarily related to the car, whether that’s keeping the people in the best shape possible, or whatever it may be.”
Piastri revealed the ‘culture’ even extended to him playing tennis with team principal Andrea Stella in between the Mexico City and São Paulo Grands Prix.
“It was just for something different,” said Piastri. “It’s always nice to have those things.”
As to who won? “We didn’t play a game, we just rallied – but Andrea definitely won!”