Zak Brown & Co. Slapped With Brutal Reality Check as Norris Bias Tipped to Trigger Piastri’s Exit

Published 09/06/2023, 2:03 PM EDT

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What every McLaren fan feared about almost the entire season happened at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix. For 2 years, Lando Norris was like an untamed and unchecked horse who ran rampant over his helpless teammate, Daniel Ricciardo. After essentially not needing to battle anyone, Norris has now been pitted against a ridiculously fast rookie in the shape of Oscar Piastri. And though there were a few lucky shaves, they did eventually come together at the Temple of Speed.

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Almost halfway through the race, Norris, who was given a preferential undercutting strategy, came face-to-face with Piastri, who had just pitted and was exiting the pits. Into the infamous turn 1 chicane, the Brit and the Aussie collided. While no tangible damage was suffered by either of the two MCL60s or their respective drivers, this very moment may have already triggered a move away from Woking for young Oscar Piastri. And McLaren CEO, Zak Brown, has been warned.

Oscar Piastri tipped to ditch McLaren amid Lando Norris bias

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Norris is definitely a star of the future and on the radar of many top teams. Naturally, Brown wants to do his best to retain the Brit. That means, oftentimes, giving the 23-year-old some sort of preference over a rookie like Piastri. But with Piastri not a slower driver by any means, an ex-F1 driver suggests an early exit on the cards for the Aussie if things don’t balance out soon.

Timo Glock was quoted as telling Sky F1 Germany, “I’m curious to see how it develops because Oscar Piastri is getting closer and also wants his chances. I can understand his displeasure there by being strategically placed behind Norris.”

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Zak Brown Issues Swift Diktat to Shoot Down Lando Norris’ Unification Dream With Max Verstappen

Only a proper debrief can conclude whether the coming together between Norris and Piastri could have been avoided. However, the very moment itself has left a sour taste in the mouth of Andrea Stella.

Andrea Stella rips Norris and Piastri apart after a gut-wrenching Italian GP moment

It’s always good to see that the driver lineup you have is equally matched and getting the most out of your package. However, then you run the risk of seeing the two fighting for the same piece of tarmac, more often than not. And on the narrow bends of Monza, disaster almost struck.

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In the aftermath of that near-ugly tussle, McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella sent a strong warning to both his drivers. He was quoted by Motorsport.com as saying, “There should never ever be contact between two McLaren cars. There was a contact, which doesn’t fit the way we go racing at McLaren.”

“You deal with racing in a similar way. This is very clear that for any driver, there’s something bigger than them. It’s the team.” 

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WATCH THIS STORY: How Oscar Piastri Has Made a Scintillating Rise to the Pinnacle of Motorsport 

Do you think a straight fight for No. 1 and No. 2 at McLaren has commenced between Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri?

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Written by:

Anirban Aly Mandal

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Anirban Aly Mandal is a senior F1 writer at EssentiallySports, with over 500 articles published on the platform. Anirban's love for F1 started when he discovered a copy of F1 2014 while playing on his computer, and he has since then dived deep into the world of motorsports. Anirban's expertise goes beyond just writing - he has also written several academic papers focused on the domain of motorsports.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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