Oscar Piastri admits to using Lando Norris as his ‘first reference’

Oscar Piastri never got the chance to drive Alpine's 2022 car, despite having been their reserve driver for the season.

Oscar Piastri appears to be settling into life at McLaren very nicely indeed, but then again, it seemingly hasn’t been difficult to do so given how he was treated by Alpine.

Piastri, of course, had his seat for 2023 ultimately decided by the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board, after Alpine were insistent that the Aussie was contracted to them.

The 21-year-old famously rejected a seat at Alpine for next season, after the French side announced Piastri as their second driver for next season despite having not asked him first supposedly.

It has to be asked what he was even doing at Alpine as their reserve driver this season, with Piastri having never tested the team’s 2022 challenger.

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This meant he had no clue what to expect ahead of driving McLaren’s 2022 car in the post-season test at the Yas Marina Circuit, which was Piastri’s first experience of the new aerodynamic regulations.

With that in mind, Piastri didn’t believe he could label certain things he discovered during the test as a “McLaren characteristic”, due to having not driven Alpine’s A522.

“I think compared to this car, it’s difficult to say if it’s a McLaren characteristic or a 2022 characteristic,” he told reporters.

“So I don’t want to put it into the ‘it’s a McLaren characteristic’ basket.

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“I think maybe there are a few small things that are a bit different, but again it’s only my first day, I’m still well and truly getting up to speed.”

Delving more into how he coped with the post-season test at Abu Dhabi, the 2021 F2 World Champion admitted that he did need to change his driving style a “little bit”, but that the car ultimately didn’t feel “completely alien” to him.

“I think so a little bit, I wouldn’t say it was 100% natural, but I don’t think any car is 100% natural.

“One of the difficulties of the sport is being able to adapt and it’s certainly different to the F2 car I’ve raced, the F3 car, the ’21 car that I drove.

“You have to change more or less every year and the cars are getting constantly developed, so even throughout the season, you might have to adapt.

“So there’s a few things that did need a bit of changing, but there was nothing that was let’s say completely alien.”

Piastri is, of course, replacing fellow Aussie Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren, meaning he’ll be forming a young driver line-up with Lando Norris.

Norris has done brilliantly in 2022 to make the most of the team’s package, one that he didn’t believe suited him.

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Despite Norris having not felt comfortable in the car, Piastri explained how he used his team-mate as a “first reference”, to figure out how to get the most out of the car.

“I definitely was able to have a look at how he drives the car, and he’s obviously made it work well this year,” said Piastri.

“So that was nice to have sort of that first reference of how Lando drives the car and just see what he does differently, what he does the same in some places.”