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CEO Zak Brown has faith that the dynamic between Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri will be a positive one.
Following a second underwhelming season for Daniel Ricciardo, fellow Aussie Oscar Piastri will take his place at the papaya team.
Piastri’s confidence that he will work well alongside Lando Norris has been shared by both Brown and ex-team principal Andreas Seidl.
Piastri v Norris
The Brit, who was the only driver outside of the top three teams to achieve a podium in 2022, has driven for McLaren since 2019.
Partnered with rookie Piastri, Norris is set to keep his role as lead driver. As with every new pairing, there could be concerns that the duo may clash.
Ahead of his departure from the team, Seidl stated his faith in the strong driver line-up. The German is heading to Sauber for the 2023 season, with Andrea Stella inheriting his role at McLaren.
When asked by Motorsport.com whether there will be any tension between the two young drivers, Seidl simply answered “I don’t think so”.
He continued: “Obviously each driver is different: different personality, different character and that could end up in let’s say a different relationship also between the two guys.
“In the end, the way Lando [Norris] is as a guy, as a character, as a person, as a driver, and the way we got to know Oscar so far, I don’t expect any issues.”
Similarly, Brown had nothing but praise for the two. After storming to victory in both Formula 2 and 3, and with experience as Alpine’s reserve driver under his belt, Piastri will start the season as one of the most exciting rookie drivers.
Nevertheless, Brown explained that he does not “have any expectations” for the 21-year-old. This is mainly due to the high standard set by Norris.
“I think Lando is as fast as anyone in F1. I think in race-winning equipment, he’d be winning races, I think probably everyone would agree with that. So Oscar is going to have a teammate that’s one of the fastest drivers in the world. But I fully expect Oscar in time to challenge.”
A long journey to F1 for Piastri
The Aussie was already fairly well known ahead of the so-called ‘Piasco’ of summer 2022.
Can it be the start of the @F1 season already? 🤩 pic.twitter.com/UBhzaodD6T
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) January 4, 2023
He missed out on a race seat after he won the 2021 Formula 2 championship as Fernando Alonso elected to stay at Alpine. Instead, he remained on the sidelines, taking a role as the French team’s reserve driver.
Once Alpine released a false statement that Piastri would drive for them in 2023, chaos ensued.
Confusion was rife and there was no shortage of snide comments from figures like Otmar Szafnauer. Nevertheless, Brown had great respect for Piastri.
“I’ve been very impressed with him how he conducted himself over the summer,” said Brown. “I thought Otmar’s comments towards Oscar were very unfair and not accurate: especially having sat through the CRB [Contract Recognition Board] and knowing exactly what happened.
“He was very mature through the whole process, which for a 21-year-old was impressive. With having all that pressure and spotlight, he was not frazzled, and he kept his head down.
“I think he’s going to be a future star. I think what’s important is that we understand he’s not raced for the year. We don’t have a lot of testing. I wish there was more pre-season testing, not just for Oscar, just in general. He is effectively going to get a day and a half, which is not a lot.
“I think he’s going to be competitive and push Lando, we just need to give him time to get into the team. He is a very serious individual. And he’s ready to go.”
Featured Image Credit: Getty Images