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McLaren: No shortcut for Piastri in understanding F1 tyre deg challenge

McLaren says there is no way Formula 1 drivers can short cut their understanding of tyre degradation, after Oscar Piastri admitted it is something he needs to work on. 

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

Piastri secured the first podium of his F1 career at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, but admitted after the race that it was not his finest performance. 

Reflecting on why he felt that way, the Australian explained that, on a day when there was a need to heavily manage the tyres, he did not think he had done a good enough job. 

“I just wasn't quick enough at certain points of the race, I think,” explained Piastri. ”These high-deg races are probably the biggest thing I need to try and work on at the moment. I think it's still quite fresh for me, obviously.  

“In all the junior racing before this there are no races like this. So, the only way you can learn from it is by just doing the races.” 

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 3rd position, in Parc Ferme

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 3rd position, in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

McLaren team boss Andrea Stella agreed that being able to master handling tyre degradation in F1 was very much about learning on the job, as there was no other way that drivers could experience the nuances and techniques required. 

“I think when it comes to race pace, it's not like you learn race pace, and it is a set of skills that then you deploy for every race,” he said. 

“Race pace in a race like [Japan] with high degradation, the car bouncing a little bit in some places, with high speed, low speed management, is applicable to today. But this doesn't mean that it was the same in Hungary, or it was the same somewhere else.  

“So, I think that's why it's a bit of a journey. And it takes time, because every situation presents its own characteristics.  

“I'm sure Oscar will have learned things, and actually, I think towards the end, it was already better than it was in the second stint. So, it's just a systematic work of cashing in all the possible learning.”

Stella said there was no need for alarm about the fact that Piastri still needed to learn some more, especially as the rookie’s outright speed was obvious.

“There is not a one-off learning that is applicable to every situation,” he added. “But the first thing I will take is always the outright speed, which is what we have seen. 

“Because when you have that, race pace and all these things are much easier to work on. Finding the edge on a single lap in Suzuka, like we saw [in qualifying], that's more difficult.” 

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