MARCH 12, 2019
Williams exit gives Stroll hope again
Lance Stroll says he is much happier after leaving Williams.
The Canadian and his backer-father, billionaire fashion mogul Lawrence Stroll, dumped Williams after the once-great team's abysmal 2018 season.
And now the British team could sink even lower in 2019, even though Robert Kubica is now in the cockpit.
"Kubica was nine tenths behind (George) Russell, who is new, in the tests," former driver Christian Danner told RTL.
It all means that 20-year-old Stroll has no regrets about having left Williams.
"I will not hide the fact that I am very happy with my fate," Stroll told Le Journal de Montreal.
"I don't wish any bad luck on anyone, but unlike last year, I now live in hope again," he added.
Stroll now drives for Racing Point, the former Force India outfit that his father Lawrence bought last year.
He said he is optimistic about 2019.
"It cannot be worse than 2018," Stroll said. "On the contrary, our team has great ambitions, just as I do.
"I want to contribute to the success of our new team. The atmosphere is fantastic," he added.
However, Racing Point had a low profile winter, and some believe that along with McLaren and Williams, it is near the back of the grid.
"Certainly we would have liked to have done more in Barcelona," Stroll admits.
"But I can tell you that all the ingredients to succeed are there," he added.
One tricky ingredient, however, could be Sergio Perez, Stroll's new teammate who in the past had a very difficult relationship with Esteban Ocon.
"To advance a team, it requires a good relationship between the drivers even if I know that last year with Esteban there were some sparks that almost went very badly," Stroll said.
He is at least looking forward to working with his father.
"It's a huge privilege," he said. "He is demanding, but I am demanding on myself too.
"He has succeeded in whatever he's done and now he wants to be successful in F1," Lance added. "He's a winner and he expects everyone on the team to give it their all, me included."
As for his chances of a podium in 2019, Stroll won't rule it out and he says the overall goal is to be fourth in the constructors' world championship.
"I celebrated my first podium in 2017 in Baku, and it was an exhilarating experience that I missed last year," he said. "But I intend to get back to it this season. We have the resources to do that."