Sophomore Piastri enjoyed ‘very different kind of test’


Oscar Piastri says he enjoyed a “very different kind of test” in Bahrain this time around compared to last season thanks to his experience and level of comfort with his McLaren team and Formula 1.

Last year's pre-season testing was a baptism by fire for Piastri. After a year on the sidelines waiting in the wings at Alpine, the young Aussie had his hands full, tasked with the daunting challenge of learning a new team and troubled car.

But twelve months and one remarkable rookie season later, Piastri's 2024 pre-season preparations are a different story altogether.

“I think for me, everything is just more relaxed,” commented the 22-year-old, quoted by Speedcafe.

“Just simple things are different. I know everyone in the team. Little things like I know my seat's comfy," he said. "There's always little things but just those sort of basic comforts are much more natural this year.”

Read also:

But Piastri’s comfort extends beyond familiarity. He has obviously grown as a driver, honed by a successful rookie year.

His interactions with the team and his engineers also reflect this maturity. McLaren team boss Andrea Stella noted a crucial shift in Piastri's communication style, suggesting a driver who is more assertive and collaborative.

The young Australian is no longer simply adapting to the world of F1; he's actively shaping his own experience within it.


“Definitely what we have seen much more, if I compare to last year, here in Bahrain, much more, let's say, self-awareness,” Stella explained.

“You know, like, where the limit of the car is, where the limit in terms of him being a rookie is – sometimes, when you are a rookie, you [have] to explore so many options in terms of driving that sometimes you are not sure like ‘is it me, that I need to drive a different way, or is it the car that needs to behave in a different way?'

“I think now he's much more aware, much more rapidly, of ‘I need to adapt in this way in this place, but the car needs to do this for me.'

“So this awareness definitely improved. Likewise, the rapidity in which he develops,” Stella added.

“Day 1, already while he was doing some continuous laps, he made a click in terms of performance.

“He kind of took these improvements into the next round. So this happens much, much quicker. That's the main thing that was apparent to me.”


Though McLaren’s the MCL38 is an evolution of its predecessor, Formula 1’s stable regulations let Piastri leverage his experience from last year, giving him a head start of sorts this time around.

“Going into it with, firstly, a comparison of last year's car to this year's car, but also with a pretty similar overview on what I want to improve and work on from last year,” he said.

“Instead of trying to learn first a new car, with new tyres, and a very different regulation, that is all stable this year and I can focus on the more specific things of how I drive it – and you know certain things I want to work on from last year.

“All those kinds of things mean it's a very different kind of test. There's a lot less new things for me, which is always nice.”

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter