Lance Stroll would be forgiven having the last laugh as he prepares to test for Racing Point, as his former Williams team will have the garage door down on the opening day of the first Formula 1 pre-season test which begins on Monday at Circuit de Catalunya.
The split between the Strolls and Williams was inevitable and after a disappointing season, in which they were clearly handed a dud of a car by Paddy Lowe and his team of engineers, billionaire Lawrence Stroll took his money and saved Force India from extinction.
The Strolls departed having spent anything up to $50-million with the Grove outfit, yet late last year Lowe had the gumption to tell reporters, “My personal view is that in hindsight [Lance] came into Formula 1 too early.”
“I think he would have been better to come a year later when he was better prepared. It was a really, really tough year for him last year,” admitted the Williams technical chief.
Lowe somehow survived the ‘post-2018 disaster’ inquisition at Williams, he lives another day as they say, but his second car for the team has already hit a rather big snag: the FW42 is not ready for day one of testing in Spain. His reputation and future hangs on the success of this next car.
Meanwhile, at the Racing Point launch function at the Toronto Auto Show, Stroll junior was asked by reporters if Lowe was perhaps correct in his claim that it was all a bit too much, too soon.
To which the Canadian responded, “All I can say is that the car was badly born last year and the engineers did not know how to develop it during the season.”
“When I took part in a test session two days after the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi [with Force India], I was 1.4 seconds faster in a car I had never driven. I think the times did the talking in Abu Dhabi. But it’s a thing of the past. I’m starting a new chapter in my career.”
“We have an outstanding organisation, which we have proved in recent years with limited resources. We don’t want to be at the back of the pack, which happened too often last year. Podiums are achievable. Our new team has the means to beat many teams in F1,” added the 20-year-old.