Askew (left) joins Pigot, Newgarden and Alberico. Photo: Rising Star Racing

Oliver Askew formally confirmed on Rising Star Racing program

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INDIANAPOLIS – With five wins from six races to kick off the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season with Cape Motorsports, Oliver Askew has been next-level awesome to kick off his career on the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires.

The talented 20-year-old Floridian has been confirmed Thursday as the next member of the Rising Star Racing initiative, which supports young American drivers on their path to the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Askew joins current Rising Star Racing drivers Spencer Pigot, in his second season in IndyCar and Neil Alberico, in his second season in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires ranks. Josef Newgarden has been Rising Star Racing’s mentor in the framework.

Quick success last year occurred for Askew as he won the Team USA Scholarship, then embarked on a whirlwind winter where he starred at the Walter Hayes Trophy Grand Final – he finished second – then won Mazda’s USF2000 Scholarship shootout competition at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in December.

“We’re very excited to have Oliver (Askew) joining the RSR family,” said RSR founder Art Wilmes. “We haven’t added a driver since we first formed in 2013, which speaks to our assessment of Oliver and his potential in American open wheel racing.”

“Rising Star Racing is a very unique program that has been incredibly beneficial for guys like me as they pursue their dreams of becoming professional race car drivers,” Askew said. “I’ve always wanted to be part of this program, and I feel very privileged and fortunate to have been brought on. I look up to drivers like Josef Newgarden, and to have a chance to follow in his footsteps at RSR is something I can’t wait to do.”

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.