McLaren CEO Zak Brown has expressed his confidence in new signing Oscar Piastri, stating that the Australian Formula 2 champion will be on par with teammate Lando Norris in terms of pace. Piastri replaced compatriot Daniel Ricciardo, who struggled to keep up with Norris during his two-year stint with the team. While Piastri had not tested for the team before his signing, he has impressed Brown with his level of focus and maturity at his home race in Melbourne.
The first two races of the season did not provide a clear head-to-head comparison between Piastri and Norris as both drivers experienced disrupted weekends. Nevertheless, Piastri’s performance in qualifying at his home race proved his competitiveness as he was just 0.046s slower than Norris, who qualified in seventh place. Brown added that having two drivers who push each other to be better is critical for a winning team, and he believes McLaren has that in Piastri and Norris.
Piastri’s lack of experience in Formula 1 has not fazed Brown, who has been impressed with the 21-year-old’s level of focus despite the additional attention around his home race. Brown praised Piastri’s maturity and calmness, which he believes will make him a great grand prix driver. While there may be an “Oscar-mania” around the track, Piastri remains focused on the job at hand and is determined to prove himself in his debut season in Formula 1.
Overall, Brown is confident that McLaren has made the right decision in signing Piastri and that he will be a valuable addition to the team. With both drivers pushing each other to be better, McLaren is set to have a strong season ahead as they aim to challenge for the top spot in the Constructors’ Championship.