Williams are looking to rekindle the edge they found in the two seasons that preceded the 2016 season and the upcoming regulatory overhaul gives the team an excellent chance to surprise the top teams and Lance Stroll will learn a lot from the upcoming battle.
The Williams team will enter 2017 with an extreme blend of experience and youth, pitting the F1 veteran Felipe Massa against the untested Lance Stroll. The young Canadian hopeful recently spoke to Mobil 1 about his targets for the upcoming campaign:
In the junior categories, Stroll has been given opportunities in top teams such as Prema Powerteam outfit, but being gifted such valuable race seats in the junior categories is one thing, winning Championships, as Stroll has, places the credit firmly between his racing gloves.
Stroll has won the elusive Toyota Racing Series, The Italian Formula 4 Championship and most recently, the highly competitive European Formula 3 Championship. To assume that he won’t be able to put in a few solid performances in the spotlight of Formula 1 would be highly naive. He will endure the realistic learning curve that every rookie must go through, but his racing record speaks for itself and Williams clearly see this potential too.
You look at the young drivers that Williams have taken a gamble on in the past, and their eventual achievements speak for themselves. Lance Stroll’s previous coach, Mahindra Racing Formua E driver Felix Rosenqvist believes that Stroll is a rare type of race driver, who will surprise many. He said,
“I think Lance can do well. He is up for the challenge, he’s a quick learner and is very motivated. Working with him is fun, but he is really serious about his racing and is ambitious. I don’t think age will be a massive factor, but with the regulation changes who knows?
As always in racing it is about what he has beneath him and the hardware he is given, but the first season in F1 has to be about the experience and learning. Everyone does this, no matter who you are or where you come from.
I am confident he will surprise many people and I see no reason why he will not do a good job in his first season.”
– Felix Rosenqvist
There will be unavoidable comparisons to the young Max Verstappen, who has set an unprecedented benchmark. If Stroll applies himself professionally, he will focus on himself in his first season. If anything, Verstappen’s success only proves that there is the scope for relative rookies to become race winners at a much quicker rate than would be expected.