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Stroll on // Williams suffer a disjointed start to pre-season testing

Published by Christine Blachford

Williams suffer a disjointed start to pre-season testing
Zak Mauger/Williams F1

It’s a difficult year to be a rookie entering Formula One, and Lance Stroll is bearing the brunt of the regulation changes. The Williams driver was back in the car today, despite Felipe Massa originally being scheduled to test, but Lance suffered two more red flag incidents that brought his tally up to three crashes in two days.

After yesterday’s trip through the gravel that brought the team’s test day to an early end, Stroll found himself in the gravel again at lunchtime, and then in the barriers midway through the afternoon. Once again, the team had to halt their planned running. Head of track performance Rob Smedley said: “I cannot make a full judgement call as to how much has been damaged and what the contingency will be from this point onwards… There is a question mark over Thursday but we will be doing our utmost to get out. It’s a really important day for testing.”

It’s easy to point the finger at Lance, particularly as Alfonso Celis Jr was in the Force India and didn’t crash, but Smedley firmly places the blame on cold rubber. “Lance was out on cold medium tyres, on an outlap with a lot of fuel in the car, and the tyre stepped away from him. He was an innocent victim of that happening… we expect it to happen, there is no blame on his part.”