Piastri has enjoyed a strong first season with McLaren, often running Lando Norris close.

The Australian would have scored his maiden podium at the British Grand Prix had it not been for an untimely Safety Car, while he led the sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps before finishing second behind Max Verstappen.

Ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, McLaren announced a new multi-year deal for Piastri, keeping him at the team until 2026.

Stella - who worked at Ferrari from 2000 to 2014 - has noticed similar qualities in Piastri that Schumacher and Alonso often displayed during their legendary careers.

“For us it was important to make sure that the person that we keep on board is a person that not only fits our culture but will contribute to establishing the culture even more and potentially adding to the culture — adding to the values and the behaviours that make us become a team of mates,” Stella said at Suzuka.

“And in this sense Oscar, I have to say, from just a personal point of view, if he wasn’t an F1 driver, Iwould appreciate him as a person. The values he brings into the sport and the values he brings into the collaboration with the team in this sense makes me think about Michael (Schumacher).

“Somebody who worked with Michael here in the paddock — he is at another team — said to me he was so capable of building families. He was definitely tough on track, but within the team, the spirit, the sense of unity was like a family. So I think I’m referring to natural talent, attitude culture and values. These three things became apparent to us relatively soon, and that’s why the conversations started soon.”

Stella was Alonso’s Ferrari race engineer between 2010 and 2014, before making the move to McLaren together a year later.

The Italian noted Piastri’s ability to ‘continuously improve’, earning a comparison with the two-time world champion.

“Obviously when McLaren so strongly wanted to sign Oscar, we looked at the results in the junior categories,” Stella added. “But what happened in the early days of the collaboration with Oscar is we could see that what he achieved in the junior categories had good reasons for that to happen.

“We could see this in the natural speed, which is related to the talent to some extent. We even saw it in the first day of the simulator in the way he was assessing his own performance, saying, ‘This is where I am. This is where I need to improve.’ It was matching so well with what we could see from the data. That was quite impressive. That’s where I thought, ‘It’s just a gift’ to some extent. His self-awareness in relation to speed, in relation to how to go and grab this speed opportunity — this became apparent at the tests and then race by race.

“Then we saw the qualities at the attitudinal level, and these qualities have to do with being able to continuously improve. You may be as talented as I’m saying, but I’m sure there are a lot of people that were talented but it didn’t lead anywhere because there was no attitude to continuous improvements. I think we have really good examples now on the grid of drivers that can keep being extremely competitive because of continuous improvements. I think this one is a similarity with Fernando.”