Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global
Formula 1 Chinese GP

McLaren needs to understand puzzling “up and down” F1 form - Piastri

Oscar Piastri thinks McLaren needs to better understand why its “up and down” performances in Formula 1 fluctuate so much.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38, leads George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

While the team has had a hugely encouraging start to the season, as it battles Ferrari at the head of the chasing pack behind Red Bull, its form has not been consistent.

And most confusing is the fact that at venues where McLaren expected to do well, like Suzuka, it struggled, while tracks like Shanghai where it had anticipated being on the back foot it actually proved to be quite strong.

Read Also:

Piastri feels that the puzzling nature of how it stacks up against Ferrari is something that McLaren should focus on understanding, as that could help it unlock better performances in the future.

“We need to understand why we're quick on certain days and not quick on other days,” said the Australian. “I think we've got some good ideas, but we just need to make sure our reasons that we think why we're good are actually why.

“We thought we would struggle quite a lot here [in China]. So it's very encouraging that Lando's able to finish second on a track we thought we'd struggle at. It's exciting for what's to come in the future, and with some new parts coming to the car, it's encouraging signs.”

Oscar Piastri, McLaren F1 Team, with his engineers in the garage

Oscar Piastri, McLaren F1 Team, with his engineers in the garage

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

As well as McLaren’s form being influenced by the speed range of corners at each individual track, the duration of turns has also been a limiting factor in the past.

And that is why its China performance was more baffling than normal, because the long nature of some of its turns was something that should have punished this car.

Asked why McLaren had gone so well in Shanghai, Piastri said: “That's what we need to understand!

“Clearly we excel on some days and we struggle more on others, and it doesn't really seem to be related to the track layout at the moment.

“Somewhere like Japan, where we thought we would be quite strong, honestly has probably been our weakest race this year along with Bahrain – and here, where we thought would be our weakest, has probably been our strongest. So we need to understand why a bit more.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

“I think it's obviously a little bit frustrating being so up and down. I think being up when you expect to be down is very encouraging so we just need to fully understand why. And, if we can do that, then we'll make some inroads into what we need to focus on.”

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella suspects that his team did so well in China because the track was not as front-limited as it has been in the past – and weather conditions did not hurt the rears as much in the race as other venues.

“I think it's a circuit in which there wasn't much front limitation,” he said, asking why he thinks McLaren did so well there.

“Since we went to the wide tyres, China doesn't seem to be as difficult for the front tyres as it was in the past. And at the same time, I think the conditions helped retain grip on the rear because the rear axle especially was not overheating.

“So it is a little bit of a combination of factors which helped the performance of our car. I think also some tweaks we made to the set-up after the sprint, they did help the race pace - because it changed the car with a view to improve in the race pace rather than qualifying.

“We were actually surprised to see that still in qualifying we were decent. But it looks like it did help with the race. So multiple factors. Not a single silver bullet, let's say.”

Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov

Watch: Who Are The Key Players In The F1 2025 Driver Market

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Mercedes taking action to cure F1 car's “underlying balance” problem
Next article F1 defers decision over points system tweaks

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global