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Lowe: Rookies struggle to exploit full car potential

Paddy Lowe, WIlliams technical director
© XPB 

Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe has admitted that there is a downside to the team relying on rookie drivers.

Lance Stroll made his Formula 1 début with the team in 2017 and took several races to get up to speed. Until he could prove his ability, the Canadian came under heavy criticism as a 'pay driver'.

Lowe admitted that the inexperienced Stroll hadn't been in a position to fully exploit the potential of the FW40.

"Some of it was down to error here and there," Lowe told RACER magazine. "Operational issues, some of which was reliability which was not as good as we'd like.

"Some of it is the driver not being able to exploit the car that is available.

"That's pretty obvious in Lance's case [in 2017]," he conceded. "He was getting up to speed in his first year of Formula 1, so that was all part of the process with him.

"[It] inevitably meant we weren't scoring quite what we should and could have done," he said.

However, Stroll picked up his first championship points in his seventh outing, his home race in Montreal. He followed that up two weeks later with an upset podium in Baku, making him the only non-Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull driver to finish in the top three all year.

"There were some terrific examples of Lance's talent," Lowe insisted. He also pointed to Stroll's first front row grid spot in a wet Monza qualifying later n the season.

"We don't have the resources of those teams at the front," he acknowledged. "But we can always do more with what we have and then take it from there.

"Success breeds more success because it brings rewards and that's the way forward."

This year, Williams is doubling down on its strategy of developing new talent by signing up another rookie. Sergey Sirotkin will make his bow with the team in the Australian Grand Prix at the end of March.

"It's not a short game, but I don't want to call it a long game either," said Lowe of the team's season-by-season approach.

"We have to take it step-by-step, we have to make a better car this year and then see where that takes us. That's the challenge.

"I don't think that's any different to how it has always been in Formula 1.

"That's why you have seen teams come and go around the front when they get that right or they get it wrong."

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