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F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 19: Oscar Piatri of Australia and Mclaren leaves the car on the grid prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Stella expects ‘calm’ Piastri ahead of home F1 Australian Grand Prix

Piastri will be making his home race debut this weekend in Melbourne in just his third ever Formula 1 race weekend

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McLaren Formula 1 team principal Andrea Stella believes that Oscar Piastri will stay ‘calm’ ahead of his home race in his third Formula 1 race weekend.

F1 Grand Prix of Saudi ArabiaJEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 19: Oscar Piastri of Australia driving the (81) McLaren MCL60 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Formula 1
Piastri impressed during qualifying in Jeddah, securing a Q3 place (Image Credit: Joe Portlock/Getty Images)

The Australian rookie has not had the start with McLaren he would have hoped for. Both McLaren drivers find themselves with zero points from the opening two races.

Due to the poor results, the Woking team has made many changes within the team to try and improve its performance imminently.

Piastri had a frustrating debut weekend in the season opener in Bahrain. The 21-year-old admitted to mistakes, costing him a place in Q2. It got worse as the Australian would have to retire early from the race with an electrical issue.

However, improvements were made in Jeddah. Piastri managed to make Q3 and qualify ninth, whereas teammate Lando Norris was knocked out in Q1 – for the first time since 2019 – as the Briton damaged his car.

Unfortunately for McLaren, both drivers had to pit early for front wing changes. This damaged both driver’s races. However, Piastri managed to finish two places ahead of Norris in 15th.

Australian Grand Prix is a big weekend for Piastri

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella acknowledges how important the Australian Grand Prix is for Piastri. However, the Italian denied that the team would over-protect the rookie to take pressure off him:

“He is a very calm guy, I think he will be able to keep himself in the bubble. But certainly we’ll have to make sure that he can stay focused on racing, and he can stay focused on keeping up with this exceptional rate of development session after session.”

Stella expects the circuit in Melbourne to be similar than the one in Jeddah.

“As a track in in terms of tarmac grip, speed of the corners, I would say it should be more similar to Saudi then Bahrain.

“So we look forward to that place in terms of being able again to challenge for Q3, and challenge for good points.”

F1 Grand Prix of Saudi ArabiaJEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 19: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL60 Mercedes leads Oscar Piastri of Australia driving the (81) McLaren MCL60 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Formula 1
Piastri and Norris are still yet to score a point in 2023 (Image Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Piastri making “strong progress” with McLaren

Stella has given a lot of praise for Piastri’s improvements in performances throughout the opening two races of the season.

“We have seen really strong progress by Oscar,” Stella told Motorsport.com. “Obviously, Lando is a complete certainty. So we know that Lando is there.

“So there’s some positives, but for me the message stays the same. We need to work hard to improve the car and go back racing where we should belong.”

The Italian further added that he sees “constant progression” with the Australian throughout the season, as McLaren look to make constant improvements to the car themselves.

McLaren’s first upgrade package is expected for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in the hope of making major steps forward.

Do you believe that Piastri can earn his first Formula 1 championships points at his home race in Melbourne?

Feature Image Credit: Eric Alonso via Getty Images

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