Australian Formula One rookie Oscar Piastri is confident he can avoid suffering the same problems as Daniel Ricciardo, the compatriot he has replaced at McLaren.
Ricciardo, a winner of eight races, never felt fully at home in the car and left a year before his contract was up after two under-performing seasons alongside British team mate Lando Norris.
He is now a reserve at champion Red Bull.
Piastri, the 2021 Formula Two champion, joins after a season on the sidelines as reserve for Renault-owned Alpine.
“It’s obviously a bit of a shame that things didn’t work out between the team and Daniel, but for me personally I’m not concerned about that aspect of things,” Piastri, 21, said at the launch of the new MCL60 car on Monday.
“Through my junior career, I’ve had to change car every single year.
“I’ve never driven the same car for more than a year,” added the Melbourne native, who left for Britain as a 14-year-old.
“I think adaptation is a big strength that you need in the junior categories, and I think that’s been prominent in mine.”
Piastri arrives with an impressive record, winning the Formula Renault, Formula Three and Formula Two titles at the first attempt.
Guided by retired Australian F1 racer Mark Webber, he handled reporters’ questions with poise and self-assurance while also appreciating the opportunity he had been given.
“It’s my first year of getting paid to race cars, which is pretty cool,” he said.
Asked where he fitted on the ‘Webber-Ricciardo spectrum’, the former known for his ‘Aussie Grit’ and the latter as an ever-smiling presence, Piastri suggested he was somewhere between the two.
“Serious when I need to be serious but have a bit of a laugh when I can as well,” he said.
“A bit of fun every now and then is always important but when it’s time for business, then it’s all hands on deck.”
McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown said he was impressed with how calm and focused on racing Piastri was, while new team principal Andrea Stella said he had also shown he could be demanding.
“There’s a characteristic we like a lot; He’s a man of few words but the right words,” he said. “That’s become very apparent.”
The season starts in Bahrain on March 5.
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