Williams Martini Racing Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe believes that their 2017 car had more performance in it, but that the inexperienced Lance Stroll was unable to extract it.
Stroll had a tumultuous time at the start of his rookie season, failing to finish the first three races and missing the points in the first six, however a first points finish came in his home Grand Prix in Canada, which he followed up with a third place in Azerbaijan.
At the same time team-mate Felipe Massa found four points finishes and twenty points in those first six races, prompting Lowe to tell RACER that the team didn’t get the points it should have in that first half of the season.
“Some of [the missed results] is down to error here and there, operational issues, some of which was reliability which was not as good as we’d like,” said Lowe. “Some of it is the driver not being able to exploit the car that is available.
“That’s pretty obvious in Lance’s case that that would have been the case for the first half of the season. He was getting up to speed in his first year of Formula 1, so that was all part of the process with him, and inevitably meant we weren’t scoring quite what we should and could have done.
“But in amongst that there were some terrific examples of Lance’s talent like Baku with his first podium, and Monza with his front row qualifying in the wet. In fact, that Baku podium result is the only non-top three podium of last year. So that was one example of displacing that lockout.”
Lowe says that, despite the team hiring another rookie for the 2018 season – Lance Stroll will be accompanied by twenty-two year old Russian Sergey Sirotkin this year – the approach to Formula 1 will be the same, and that it’s neither a short nor long game.
“As it has always been in this sport you’ve got to do the best you can with what you’ve got,” said Lowe. “We don’t have the resources of those teams at the front 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.
“So it’s not a short game, but I don’t want to call it a long game either. 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 and 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.”