Rookie Oscar Piastri has kicked his preparations for his first season in Formula 1 up a level, after completing a private test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
McLaren’s new driver was behind the wheel of the Woking-based team’s successful 2021 challenger on Thursday, with team-mate Lando Norris having completed some laps himself on Wednesday.
2023 looks set to be a very promising year for McLaren, with the team boasting an incredibly exciting young driver line-up.
Remarkably, Norris is just 23 years old despite the fact he’s about to enter his fifth season at the pinnacle of motorsport, with the British driver set to occupy the role of the team’s experienced driver.
Piastri is a huge talent who arguably deserved a place on the grid last season, after winning the 2021 Formula 2 World Championship in his rookie season.
The Australian is rated very highly and is regarded as a future World Champion, given that he claimed the Formula 3 and Formula 2 titles in back-to-back seasons.
Norris will not be an easy team-mate to beat, though, something fellow Aussie Daniel Ricciardo found out the hard way.
Piastri’s move to the British side certainly hasn’t come easy, with the 21-year-old having publicly rejected a seat at Alpine for the forthcoming season, with his 2023 fate having ultimately been decided by the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board.
Piastri was wasted last season as Alpine’s reserve driver, with his only time driving an actual 2022 car having been for McLaren during the post-season test at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi.
2023 is his chance to show what he’s got, with McLaren clearly believing that he can further elevate the team, and perhaps takeover from Norris should the Briton leave when his contract expires at the end of 2025.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown is clearly expecting massive things from the young Aussie, who he believes is going to be a “sensational racing driver”, with him already boasting a “great mental approach”.
“We think Oscar is going to be a sensational racing driver,” said Brown on the team’s YouTube channel.
“If you look at his career to date he’s won a lot of championships in his first year, which always tells you a driver is special.
“He’s got a great mental approach to the sport and now that we feel Lando has a lot of experience, we feel like we have a great blend of experience and youth – our experience just also happens to have youth.
“We sit here very excited with the potential of our driver line-up of Lando and Oscar for the foreseeable future.”