Lando Norris identified as only reason Oscar Piastri isn’t regretting McLaren move

Oscar Piastri is currently preparing for his first home Grand Prix this weekend as a Formula 1 driver.

1996 Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill has questioned if McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri is beginning to “regret” leaving Alpine for the Woking-based team, following McLaren’s woeful start to the 2023 F1 season.

The start of his career at the pinnacle of motorsport certainly hasn’t gone smoothly for Piastri, who retired from the season-opener in Bahrain following a technical fault, whilst he finished 15th in Saudi Arabia after needing a new front wing.

To contextualise McLaren’s poor start to the year, AlphaTauri are the only other team on the grid yet to score a point, meaning the British team are currently rooted to the foot of the Constructors’ Championship.

Alpine on the other hand, are currently sitting fifth in the standings on eight points, after having at least one driver in the top 10 at both rounds this season.

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Piastri, of course, publicly rejected a seat at Alpine for this season in favour of moving to McLaren, a situation which saw the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board get involved.

Hill wonders, though, if he’s starting to regret his choice, with Alpine being “more competitive”.

“He probably thought McLaren was the best option, the better environment for him,” said Hill.

“Alpine is good at the moment – they don’t set the world on fire, but they look more competitive than McLaren. So yes, maybe he does regret that.

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“But on the other hand, he is now competing against the highly-rated Lando.

“It’s a strange thing in our sport, that as a driver you are judged on your performance against your teammate. You can be in a less competitive car, but all you need is to be faster than a man who some say is a future world champion.”

Piastri is currently busy preparing for his first F1 home race, with it being the Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

He’ll be desperate for a strong weekend and to score his first points in the championship, given how difficult the opening two races have been.

Despite the issues he’s faced, though, team principal Andrea Stella has been very impressed by the Aussie’s progress but has warned him to “keep himself in the bubble”.

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

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“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.” 

“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.”