Rising Canadian racing star Lance Stroll has begun private Formula 1 test running using a 2014-spec Williams car as part of his development program with the British team.
Stroll, 17, leads the FIA F3 standings by 68 points with two rounds remaining, and has been linked to a vacant seat with Williams in F1 for 2017 after securing enough points for a super licence.
As part of his development, Stroll will enjoy testing behind the wheel of the Williams FW36 car raced by Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas in 2014, as permitted under the F1 testing regulations.
“Lance is in the process of doing extensive simulator work at Williams and has undertaken a team immersion programme to help him develop further as a racing driver,” a spokesperson for Stroll told NBC Sports.
“This included him joining the team in Monaco and Canada to see how they operate over a grand prix weekend. He has done some work in the Williams simulator configured to an F3 car designed to help him with the F3 season.
“Lance is now moving into some work experiencing an older spec F1 car in between his F3 racing. Part of the work includes giving him some time in an old F1 car to prepare him for the differing performance a Formula 1 car gives.
“These track days have been designed to fit around this. He drives an FW36 (2014-spec car).”
Stroll would follow in the footsteps of Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon, F1’s most recent teenage drivers, should he get a drive with Williams for 2017.
However, the Canadian said over the summer that he is in no rush to make the step up to the top level, and is happy to consider other series for next season.
“I don’t want to rush. I’m not 25 years old, I’m still 17, so I do have time ahead of me,” Stroll said.
“But that’s a thing that’s important. We can’t just think we have time, take another year and another year because before you know it, it’s too late and there’s another 17 year old!
“One thing at a time. This year, we’re concentrating on this championship.
“And then next year, we’ll be in whatever it is: GP2, F1, IndyCar – whatever comes up, we’ll conquer next.”