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Symonds impressed by Stroll's preparations

NEWS STORY
28/12/2016

While the jury is still out on whether Williams recruitment of Lance Stroll is a positive move by the Grove outfit, its outgoing technical boss, Pat Symonds, admits to being impressed by the youngster's preparations.

Indeed, as he prepares for his debut, Stroll can already reflect on a rigorous test programme held at a wide variety of tracks, using the best equipment Williams and Mercedes could offer, all funded by his billionaire father, Lawrence Stroll.

Despite claims that the youngster has bought his place on the 2017 grid, Pat Symonds insists that the 2016 Euro F3 Champion has impressed him, having enjoyed a preparation programme similar to that of Jacques Villeneuve who carried out a full programme of tests with Williams at the end of 1995 ahead of his F1 debut, the French-Canadian going on to finish runner-up to teammate Damon Hill in his first season.

"I think Jacques did a very focused programme with Williams in 1995," the Briton told Motorsport.com, "I know that they specifically went to a lot of tracks, which weren't where the teams were testing at the time.

"Generally speaking, all the guys who were proper test drivers went and did testing so they got the miles under their belt," he continued, "but the focus was always on them developing the car rather than us developing the drivers. We've turned it around on this one so it is a bit more like Jacques' old programme of teaching the driver.

"For example, in Abu Dhabi, he did pit stop practice," he revealed, referring to Stroll, "and we had the full pitstop crew and pitstop practice after pitstop practice after pitstop practice. The crew don't need that practice, but he does. That is where the focus is.

"I think it has been quite enlightening," he said. "The programme involves a 2014 car and these academy tyres, and the academy tyres are quite different.

"You don't know how different, we don't have data on them," he admitted, "but what we can do is look at what Lance is doing with his data compared to Valtteri in 2014 and Felipe, and I've been quite impressed. He gets down to learning a circuit quite quickly, and that is always a hallmark of a good driver. And by the end of two days in the car, he is running quite well.

"What is more, he is learning. A lot of driving an F1 car now is about managing tyres and learning to manage tyres, learning that the stuff that engineers bleat on about all the time is actually true.

"So he has to go out, he has to burn through a set of tyres and say 's**t, okay, now I know I can't drive flat out'. It is those sort of things. He is learning, it is good."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by bfairey, 01/01/2017 15:58

"Another little rich kid wants to go motor racing."

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2. Posted by Red5, 28/12/2016 20:14

"I'll miss Pat's insider knowledge and insights, he's always such a knowledgeable yet pleasant person to listen to or hear from."

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