Williams Martini Racing have assigned two race engineers for Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin for the 2018 Formula 1 Season, with the decision being made by the Grove-based team as part of reshuffling within the operating staff.
Lance Stroll will be supported by James Urwin and Luca Baldisseri, who both worked with the Canadian last year during his rookie season.
Urwin was Stroll’s race engineer for sixteen races in 2017, but missed the remaining races whilst on paternity leave.
Baldisseri replaced Urwin’s position, who previously worked with Stroll during his time in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Prema Powerteam. Now both men will share race engineering duties for the forthcoming season.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, head of performance engineering Rob Smedley that Stroll was “happy with what we have done bringing in Luca, who was with Lance anyway going back to the Prema days.”
Russian rookie Sergey Sirtokin will have Felipe Massa‘s former engineer Andrew Murdoch as his race engineer, helping him with this first season. He will share the role with senior trackside aerodynamicist Paul Williams.
Williams was described by Smedley as a “a very experienced engineer and a very good manager both of people and technically.” He added both Williams and Sirotkin have partnered well together during the pre-season testing at Barcelona.
Smedley explained that the decision for two race engineers, rather than a separating the role up between race and data responsibilities was a deliberate move by the team.
“It’s more coherent and more focused on the team, as well as being focused on individual drivers.” said Smedley.
Williams are preparing for the longer-term with the possibility of longer seasons, with F1 owner’s Liberty Media wanting to hold twenty five races in a season.
“Your best and most experienced people are not always onboard of doing 25 races per year” Smedley continued. “What you have to do is grow the pool a bit wider and have some rotation.”