McLaren has displayed confidence in the future of Oscar Piastri, the young Australian driver, renewing his contract for a further two years until the end of 2026. Piastri’s skill and raw speed have shone through during his early career, impressing the McLaren team and earning him comparisons with some of the great drivers of Formula 1.
McLaren team principal, Andrea Stella, gave these insights in a press conference at Suzuka on Thursday. Stella pointed out similarities in Piastri’s temperament with two of F1‘s greats – Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher.
When asked about the rationale behind signing Oscar, Stella revealed, “When McLaren so strongly wanted to sign Oscar, we looked at the results in the junior categories, and in the early days of the collaborating we could see what he achieved, there were good reasons for that to happen.” Stella further highlighted Piastri’s incredible understanding of his performance, a trait that is mirrored in the data that the team collects.
Stella believes this understanding and the capacity for continual self-improvement set Piastri on par with his successful predecessors. “These qualities have to do with being able to continuously improve,” Stella elaborated, “There were a lot of people that were talented, but it didn’t lead anywhere because there was no attitude to continuous improvement.” Stella draws parallels with Fernando Alonso, who, like Piastri, has a strong drive to continually improve despite age.
Piastri’s ability to empower himself isn’t the only favourable attribute highlighted by Stella. Piastri’s interaction with the team and the personal values he brings are equally commendable. Stella praises Piastri as a team player, stating, “For us, it was important to make sure that the person that we keep on board is a person that not only fits our culture, but will contribute to establishing the culture even more.”
In his interactions with the team, Piastri embodies values that are reminiscent of Michael Schumacher, who was known for fostering unity and camaraderie within the team. “[Michael] was so capable of building families,” Stella reflected, “I think I’m referring to natural talent, attitude, culture and values. These three things became apparent to us relatively soon.”
In addition to his competitive spirit and team collaboration, Piastri’s calmness, an essential quality in the high-pressure world of F1 racing, is exceptional. Stella admires Piastri’s ability to maintain composure during crises and stressful situations. Describing Piastri as a “calm, considerate person,” Stella insists on the trustworthiness of Piastri’s remarks. He elaborates, “You can trust what he’s saying, and he’s not adding speculatively anything because he needs to promote himself. He is trustworthy and calm.” Stella credits Piastri’s unruffled demeanor as a stimulant to positivity within the team.