Williams has confirmed that it will take no part in the final day of the first Formula 1 pre-season test in Barcelona due to damage sustained to its FW40 car on Wednesday.
Williams was forced to curtail its running early on both Tuesday and Wednesday following incidents involving 18-year-old rookie Lance Stroll, who steps up to F1 from Formula 3 in 2017.
Stroll hit the wall on his 99th lap on Wednesday, causing damage to his car that has forced Williams to sit out Thursday’s running on safety grounds.
“Following a thorough inspection overnight some damage to the FW40 chassis was discovered and therefore, on safety grounds, the team will not run the car today,” a spokesperson from Williams confirmed.
“A second chassis will be prepared at track this afternoon, as originally planned, with the team aiming to be back on track for the second test next week starting on Tuesday 7 March.”
Stroll split running with teammate Felipe Massa in Barcelona, the Brazilian completing 103 laps on Monday before handing the reins of the car over to the youngster.
The Barcelona test was not Stroll’s first run in an F1 car, with the Canadian enjoying an extensive private testing program with a 2014-spec Williams through 2016 in order to prepare for his rookie season.
The crashes have raised concerns in some quarters about his readiness for F1, having just three seasons of single-seater racing under his belt from F3 and Formula 4.
Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said he feels that Stroll has joined F1 at the toughest time, with the 2017-spec cars being more difficult to drive than their predecessors.
“I feel for him in the sense that it’s the toughest year to come into Formula 1, being in the fastest cars and the most physical cars, with such a short amount of testing,” Hamilton said.
“I know he’s been driving around the world testing in the Williams, so he’s definitely had more preparation time than any other driver coming in would have had.
“But it’s to be expected. It’s not an easy car to drive at all. It’s so much faster, so much faster through the corners. Precision is even more important than in the past. Last year’s car is easy compared to this year’s car. I love that point. I do really like and I’m really happy about that.
“But these are only the first days. You can’t just jump in and drive from no experience at all to being consistent and not spin. That’s to be expected. It’s actually good for him to go through this now, rather than at the first race.”