Lance Stroll, Williams, Interlagos, 2018

Stroll to test for Force India next week

2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Force India has moved closer to confirming Lance Stroll will drive for the team next year after announcing him as part of their line-up for next week’s test.

The 20-year-old will drive the VJM11 for the first time in the afternoon on Tuesday, then take over the car for the whole day on Wednesday. Sergio Perez will be in the car on Tuesday morning.

Stroll is set to be announced as the replacement for Esteban Ocon at the team next year. His father Lawrence Stroll led a consortium which took over the team in August.

Williams has already announced Stroll and team mate Sergey Sirotkin will be replaced by new driver pairing Robert Kubica and George Russell next year.

Stroll described his final race for Williams as “challenging” after finishing 13th. “But I thought for the package we have, it was quite a good race to be with the McLarens and finish in front of my team mate. I’m happy with that.

“It was not a good start and then I was a bit of a passenger throughout the race though the car not having much pace. But we were able to go really long in the first stint which was good.

“The wind picked up a little bit in the second stint and really impacted the performance of the car, and then ultra-soft tyre kind of went downhill from there, unfortunately, which has been the case throughout the course of the year. Just not enough to pick up points today.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Stroll to test for Force India next week”

  1. It’s weird that he hasn’t been announced as FI’s second driver, no? What could possibly be the reasons for it taking so long?

    1. @toiago I don’t get it either. Ocon’s plans for next season are already fixed and yet still no official confirmation for Stroll’s drive at RPFI even though it’s been rather given since approximately the Belgian GP weekend.

    2. I thought that since Williams filled its seats.

    3. @toiago came here to say exactly that. Interested to hear the reasons behind the delay, why could it be?

    4. The best explanation I can come up with is for PR purposes.

      My thinking is that they’ll pretend they were using the test as an ‘evaluation’ exercise. His times will be acceptable, because they’ll make sure he gets plenty of qualifying simulations done. A few days later, he’ll be announced as a driver for 2019 in a statement filled with how much he impressed the team at the test with his conduct and driving. They’ll mention how it was good to finally get proper access to his car data to see how amazing he really is. I expect the word ‘potential’ will be included at least once, and they might even try to make us believe they hadn’t made up their mind beforehand.

      Or it could just be that they want to be the main story, so they’re saving it for a quiet news day…

    5. @toiago @jerejj @nullapax @fer-no65 @neilosjames

      I read somewhere – and it makes perfect sense to me – that the strategy was to wait until the off-season so that Stroll could avoid the media and all the question’s surrounding the move, many of which were bound to be on the negative side.

      1. @shimks Yes, but now the season’s over, and everything else has since been sorted out as well (Ocon’s 2019 plans, as well as, Williams’ 2019 driver line-up), so nothing to really justify the delay anymore.

        1. @jerejj I think they will wait until the testing is finished so that he can escape and hide behind his Christmas tree.

  2. Ocon off, stroll in….so annoying..
    F1 not the best driver arena anymore..

  3. I see, ForceIndia want to evaluate Stroll, before making a decision regardless.

    1. If you cant drive for dsds team who can you drive for..? Its a no brainer just anounce it already..

  4. He will need to be within half a second of Perez…..and yes I know he will still get the drive…but if next season he does not narrow the gap, he will get a rough ride from probably everyone

  5. Beaten by a retired Massa, out-qualified by a rookie pay driver, & still he gets a promotion … madness.

    1. It’s alright. The way I see it.. He’s going to be a driver that’s eventually going to retire from the sport through sheer embarrassment.

      He’ll be a driver that makes viewers constantly despise pay drivers.. And because of that there might be fewer pay drivers interested in joining F1 and fewer teams taking on pay drivers due to the negative publicity.

    2. And he never eat out any session.

  6. On the other hand, his money saved one great team and potentially extended the demise of another legendary team, which is good for the sport. Who knows, maybe without his money Williams wouldn’t have the budget to sign both Russell (who does not bring money to the team as far as I know) AND Kubica (who obviously brings less money then Stroll+Sirotkin combo). This would force Williams to find another pay driver or fold. Likewise, Force India might had to settle for Russian backers, and that is always a gamble in this day and age. So, while he’s obviously not good, for me, his presence actually brings more good than bad, at least until this monetary situation in F1 is fixed. Which might be never.

  7. You wouldn’t think money would encourage so many people to make so many bad decisions. Exchanging Ocon for Stroll doesn’t make any sense.

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