Lance Stroll will take an important step in his professional pilot career this week. The Quebecker will give his first shots in the Formula 1 winter test on the Catalunya circuit in Barcelona, from Monday to Thursday inclusive.
This will be the first time that Stroll will participate in a public session after taking part in numerous private tests with Williams over the winter.
It will however be necessary to wait until Tuesday to see Stroll, who is 18 years old, on the track in the car FW40, which was launched in great pomp Friday. It will be his teammate, the Brazilian Felipe Massa, who will kick off these four days of testing on Monday.
Stroll, who was crowned European champion of F3 last season with 14 victories in 30 starts, will alternate on track with the 35 year old veteran. He will be back on the Catalan circuit on Thursday.
Stroll officially became a British team driver last November. The young man from Mont-Tremblant is the first representative of Quebec to drive in F1 since Jacques Villeneuve with Sauber in 2006.
Massa, who had announced his retirement at the end of the last season, has reversed his decision following the departure of Finn Valtteri Bottas for Mercedes. The 35-year-old Brazilian is likely to be a mentor to Stroll this season.
This is not the first time that Stroll will negotiate the circuit of Catalunya in an F1 car. In anticipation of his jump in the series queen of the race car, he had been driving at the wheel of the 2014 FW36 car last year.
This winter testing will be a great opportunity for Williams to measure his progress against the plateau since last season as the team finished fifth in the constructors’ championship – behind Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and Force India.
Significant changes to the chassis size and mass regulations, as well as the dimensions of the wings and tires (wider than in 2016) have been adopted in order to increase the aerodynamic support of the single Aggressive “and faster. According to Williams, these changes could upset the F1 hierarchy as the new engine regulations in 2014 had.
The Grove team in the United Kingdom said on Friday when it launched its car that it will re-focus on the power of its Mercedes engine for success in 2017. It will however wait until the first round of the season , The Australian Grand Prix, on March 26, to get a clear picture of the potential of Williams and Stroll.