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McLaren star set for 'telling year' despite impressive 2023 season

McLaren star set for 'telling year' despite impressive 2023 season

McLaren star set for 'telling year' despite impressive 2023 season

McLaren star set for 'telling year' despite impressive 2023 season

A McLaren F1 star needs time to prove he can compete at the highest level, according to former Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer.

Many hailed Oscar Piastri's debut season as the most notable since Lewis Hamilton's in 2007.

His team faced early challenges with an underdeveloped car, but following upgrades introduced at the Austrian Grand Prix, both Piastri and Norris transformed from backmarkers to consistent podium contenders.

Piastri finished the season in ninth place, amassing 97 points, securing two podium finishes, and claiming victory in the Sprint race in Qatar. Norris placed sixth, with 205 points and seven podiums.

But Szafnauer believes that Piastri will be judged more closely with his team-mate in seasons to come.

READ MORE: VOTE: Rivals clash as fans have final say on 2023

Oscar Piastri had a magnificent rookie season but was outperformed by Lando Norris
Lando Norris finished the season with almost double the points of Piastri

Piastri needs time

“He performed well against Lando,” Szafnauer told Peter Windsor. “I think to me, next year or the year after, will be more telling.

“You’ve got to give Oscar the year of getting used to the team, the circuits, with the car that’s underneath him and then we’ll see.

“I think Lando is exceptional and you can see that in the comparison. Although everyone says Oscar did a good job, because he did, I think Lando was still quite a way ahead. Not all races, but in total points and some of the head-to-head comparisons.

“But one of the reasons is because Oscar was a rookie and next year he’ll have that experience that a rookie doesn’t have and then we’ll see how much closer it is.”

READ MORE: McLaren star's 'Achilles heel' revealed by ex-F1 driver

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