Formula One is constantly evolving. Each year, as the teams develop new technology, they build more refined and faster cars. In a sport that is right on the edge of technological advancements, the immense pressure on revolutionary car design is relentless. Tenths of seconds define success or failure. And each year, Formula One teams invest millions of pounds for the chance to achieve success.
The huge investment of money, time and effort that is put into each car sits on the shoulders of one man. The driver. Formula One drivers have to evolve along with the sport. Adapting to new regulations, new tracks, new cars, new technologies. Over time, drivers will come and go on the whims of team bosses who seek results above all else.
The passing of time requires new generations of drivers to be introduced into Formula One. Youngsters who have those overwhelming responsibilities placed upon their shoulders. In Formula One, there is very rarely more than one chance. No mistakes go unnoticed, and only a perfect performance will suffice.
Often, a Grand Prix team will discard a young driver who fails to live up to their vast expectations. The cold and unsympathetic world of Formula One is exclusive to only the very best. Each year, there is the opportunity for new, young talent to prove they are good enough to compete at the top level.
2017 is no exception, with two new drivers making their full debuts in Formula One.
This son of a billionaire has made the jump from Formula Three having ‘strolled’ to the title last year. A former member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Lance has been on the Formula One radar since 2010.
He since joined Williams as a test driver in 2014, and has slowly developed his craft in the lower formulas. Winning titles in Italian Formula 4 and European Formula 3. The relatively big jump to Formula One is not unprecedented. Max Verstappen made an identical move in 2015. He has since proved that he was ready for the challenge.
Stroll’s induction to Formula One has been relatively low key in comparison. While he annihilated his competition last year, his promotion to Formula One has been over shadowed by the sickening amount of money that backs him. His father has had a significant role in Lance’s career, that is undeniable.
Williams are surely in need of some extra funding. The challenge of keeping up with the corporate identities at the top of the sport right now is growing year on year. Based on that assumption, Stroll was an easy choice. But the boy is clearly quick and deserving of his chance on the world stage.
Time to step up
His task in 2017 is fairly relaxed. Up against Felipe Massa, Stroll has a chance to pit himself against a race winner and proven stalwart of the sport. Felipe is a long way past his best however, and having retired from the sport in November, is something of an unknown quantity.
If the team are going to challenge for a strong finish in the constructors’ standings, both drivers are going to need to perform. Filling the shoes of Mercedes new boy Valtteri Bottas, the young Canadian is going to need to bring himself very quickly to that level.
Williams clearly have faith in him. Both as a young talent with a lot of potential, and as a source of considerable funds. He will need to make a very immediate impact on the rest of the Formula One paddock however. There is no time for anything other than perfect performance.
(Chris501 CC BY 3.0)
(Chris501 CC BY 3.0)