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OscarAbuDhabiTest5

Brown: I expect Norris and Piastri to be close

OscarAbuDhabiTest5

The hype regarding Oscar Piastri’s arrival on the Formula 1 stage continues, McLaren boss Zak Brown predicting the young Australian will challenge Lando Norris.

That’s a bold call from Brown, hedging his bets on a driver that has yet to race in F1, 2023 will be his rookie season alongside teammate Norris who has proven to be no slouch, heading into his fifth season already established as a young gun for the future.

Speaking to journalists recently, Brown reckoned: “Lando is one of the fastest drivers on the grid, and I expect he and Oscar to be close. I expect Oscar to have some opportunities to beat him and vice versa, and that’s obviously what you want – two drivers that are right next to each other and reversing the order.

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“I don’t have any expectations or set out: This is what he needs to do by this date. But I think Lando is as fast as anyone in Formula 1. I think in race-winning equipment, he’d be winning races. I think probably everyone would agree with that.

“So Oscar is going to have a teammate that’s one of the fastest drivers in the world but I fully expect Oscar, in time, to challenge,” predicted Brown.

Norris has cemented himself if F1 for the foreseeable future, enjoying a solid rookie season alongside Carlos Sainz, before stepping it up a notch or two since then, the 23-year-old inadvertently destroying Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 career in the two seasons the two were together.

For one so young Norris will assume the team leader role as Piastri finds his feet in the top flight, his case of particular interest to fans because of the furor he caused by ditching Alpine, who financed his rise to F1, for a surprise move to McLaren.

Apart from shedding the old baggage by performing on-track, Piastri beating Norris (let alone matching him) would be a major accomplishment and give credibility to the sport’s most hyped rookie who, this year, has nowhere to hide as he finally begins his much anticipated F1 career. Interesting times lie ahead at Woking.