Pirelli confirms in-season testing schedule

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Pirelli has confirmed its in-season testing schedule for the coming year as teams give up one day of their own track time in order to work with the Italian tire supplier.

Following the testgate scandal that unfurled last May – where Mercedes was adjudged to have wrongly completed 1000km of testing despite there being a ban on it – it was written into the new regulations that teams could work with Pirelli on an official basis during the year.

Further to that, scheduled in-season testing has returned, with events planned following the races in Bahrain, Spain, Great Britain and Abu Dhabi. Therefore, each team will use one day from each test to work with Pirelli on its tire compounds.

Pirelli’s testing programme is as follows:

Bahrain
April 8 – Caterham
April 9 – Mercedes and Williams

Spain
May 13 – Sauber and Toro Rosso
May 14 – McLaren and Force India

Great Britain
July 8 – Ferrari and Lotus
July 9 – Red Bull and Marussia

Abu Dhabi
November 25 – 2015 tire testing
November 26 – 2015 tire testing

With an official testing calendar in place, there should be no repeat of the scandal that emerged at Monaco last year when Mercedes’ actions were revealed. Further to that – and more importantly – Pirelli will be able to get as much information as possible about the 2014 tire compounds, meaning that problems such as the multiple tire blow-outs at the British Grand Prix last June should be avoided this time around.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.