Oscar Piastri says he is optimistic about McLaren’s chances at the upcoming Formula 1 rounds amid a series of upgrades that the team will bring.

The Woking-based squad has endured a difficult start to the 2023 season with its car performing off the leading midfield pace.

Before the start of the year, the team admitted that it had missed development targets for the MCL60 car and expected to commence the campaign on the back foot.

At the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, it introduced its first major upgrade of the year to revamp the direction of the car.

It is set to add more parts this weekend in Austria and again at the British Grand Prix from Silverstone next week.

“I haven’t driven in the simulator yet. So I’m not sure [what they’re like],” Piastri said in Canada.

“Hopefully, it’s faster. That’s obviously the plan. I think we’re positive and optimistic about the new package we’ve got coming for Austria and Silverstone. 

“We’ll have to wait and see but I’m looking forward to firstly driving it in the sim when I have the chance and then obviously on the real track too.”

McLaren will not have much opportunity to dial in its upgrades this weekend as Spielberg hosts the second Sprint event of the year.

The format has been further revised for 2023, with just one practice session preceding two qualifying outings and two races.

Having last scored points at the Monaco Grand Prix last month, Piastri is eying a return to the top 10 in Austria this weekend.

“I’m looking forward to returning to the Red Bull Ring, this time in an F1 car,” he said.

“I quite enjoyed the new Sprint format in Baku, so I’m looking forward to experiencing that again this weekend and hopefully bring back some points for the team.”

Piastri has raced at the Red Bull Ring before, most recently in 2020 during his title-winning FIA Formula 3 campaign.

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