Paddy Lowe, technical chief at Williams Martini Racing, has spoken of his admiration for Felipe Massa, and how he considers the Brazilian to be a “fantastic” mentor for Lance Stroll during his rookie season.
Lowe joined the team at the start of the season, taking a position in management alongside a stake in the company.
Stroll is also a newcomer for 2017, filling the seat of the departing Valtteri Bottas who left to join Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.
Lowe considers Massa to be the best mentor on the grid owing to his fourteen seasons worth of experience. He is assisting Stroll in his Formula 1 debut season as an almost bottomless well of racing knowledge.
“I’ve admired Felipe as a competitor for many years, particularly 2008 when I was with McLaren and Lewis [Hamilton] and it was a really tough battle between the two of them and the two teams,” he said.
“He did a fantastic job that year, and as you know, he was briefly world champion. So Felipe is a world champion-class driver, so it’s great to work with him. He’s always cheerful, wholly committed and enjoys the work.
“That is always a good starting point with drivers when they clearly so much enjoy what they do. It makes it a pleasure to work with them. His experience is just vast, and he’s the kind of guy you watch in the car and you have no worries about what he’ll do and whether he’ll get it right because you can have complete confidence that he’ll deliver what you need from the car.
“That’s fantastic to have, especially at the moment with Lance being on his steep learning curve. At the same time, Felipe’s been very, very helpful with coaching across the garage to help Lance get up to speed.”
Stroll has had anything but an easy start, with his first three races ending prematurely with DNFs. But the Canadian was able to see his first checkered flag at the Russian Grand Prix.
Lowe believes that you must be prepared for a slow start when you have an inexperienced driver entering the paddock for the first time; the important thing is that both team and driver learn from their troubles.
“It’s very, very tough to DNF on your first three events, particularly when for him there’s been a lot of pressure, a lot of attention, a lot of expectation,” he continued “It’s difficult. One of them was ours with the brake failure, completely ours, we hold our hands up to that.
“That’s part of the learning curve of entering the sport. You enter as a rookie, you make your space. I think part of that there is asserting your presence on the track that people don’t push you around. I think Lance is in that process at the moment.”