Williams Formula 1 chief technical officer Pat Symonds says he expects 18-year-old Lance Stroll to make mistakes during his rookie season in 2017.
Williams announced last month that Stroll would be stepping up from Formula 3 to a full-time F1 seat for 2017, replacing the retiring Felipe Massa.
Stroll has an impressive track record through his junior racing career, becoming the youngest ever FIA F3 champion in 2016.
However, his on-track actions have caught attention for the wrong reasons at times, with the Canadian receiving a race ban in June 2015 for causing an accident.
Speaking to Reuters, Symonds said that Williams is braced for Stroll to make mistakes during his rookie campaign as he gets to grips with life in F1.
“Of course he’ll make mistakes and we’ll be repairing cars. These things happen as part of the process,” Symonds said.
“If you look at his Formula 3 career, in 2015 he was having quite a few accidents in that. The Monza one is just staggering.”
However, Symonds has no doubt in Stroll’s talent, believing the youngster to have proven himself during his two-year stint in F3.
“He hasn’t won that championship with anything other than a lot of skill and maturity,” Symonds said.
“For a guy that young, he’s driven really well in pretty well every condition. He’s raced well, he’s led at the front. He’s come through the field a bit, he’s driven well in the wet.
“He is the real deal.”
Besides his F3 commitments, Stroll has also completed an extensive F1 testing program through 2016 that saw him conduct running in a 2014-spec Williams in order to prepare him for his race debut in Australia next March.
Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points
Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.
Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.
The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.
In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.
Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.
Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.
Last Five Seattle Winners
450s 2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto