Oscar Piastri has stressed that it’s “still very important” for himself and Lando Norris to work together, in McLaren’s pursuit of Red Bull.
Norris did extremely well in supporting Piastri during the young Australian’s rookie season, where he surprised many by how quickly he managed to compete with the more experienced British driver.
Norris remained as McLaren’s number one driver, although Piastri was often capable of producing very similar lap times.
Whilst the 24-year-old did claim seven podiums in 2023 compared to Piastri’s two, the Australian managed to win a Sprint race in Qatar – McLaren’s first Sprint win.
The two McLaren drivers shared a lot of information last season, with Piastri stressing that their data will remain “completely open” despite the fact he has a year under his belt now.
Piastri and Norris will work “exactly the same” in the upcoming season as they worked last year, with the team’s goal of catching Red Bull being more important than an intra-team squabble.
As far as Piastri’s aware, McLaren aren’t set to introduce any “barriers” between the two drivers, with everyone needing to remain united to try and fight for victories in 2024.
If the chance does come for Piastri or Norris to claim a first win for McLaren since Daniel Ricciardo at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, then the 22-year-old wants things to remain “respectful” on the circuit.
“The relationship is still exactly the same,” Piastri told Autosport.
“Of course, we’re not winning [titles] at the moment. We’re a lot closer than we were, but we still need to find that bit more to challenge and to beat Red Bull.
“So, it’s still very important for us to work together and help the team develop the car.
“The team back at MTC and the engineers here are all doing their best to try and help things. But if me and Lando have got any additional info or directions on things, then anything we can do to help is going to help both of us.
“In terms of data and stuff like that, it’s all completely open. There are no barriers or anything and that won’t change.
“We just need to make sure that our racing is respectful. But apart from that, it’s all good.”
Whilst Piastri demonstrated similar one-lap pace to Norris in his debut campaign, the young Aussie tended to be a few-tenths slower than the Briton per lap when it came to race pace.
A lot of this is down to his inexperience in managing Pirelli’s rubber; however, with 22 races in his locker now, he could start to reduce his team-mates race pace advantage.