Szafnauer: Lance Stroll already on a par with Esteban Ocon

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Any doubts Racing Point F1 may have had about Lance Stroll's speed were put to rest in last month's post-season test at Abu Dhabi says team boss Otmar Szafnauer.

The young Canadian will be moving from Williams to Racing Point F1 for 2019, courtesy of his father Lawrence Stroll who led a consortium of investors that saved the pink outfit last summer from a painful demise.

The 20-year-old was seen as a mere 'rich kid' pay driver when arrived in Formula 1 in 2017, but two season later, most would agree that Stroll has acquitted himself well, showing a talent and skill that absolutely warrant his presence in Formula 1.

Stroll was put through his paces in Racing Point's simulator at the team's base at Silverstone, but his full scale first test in Abu Dhabi convinced everyone of his undeniable potential.

"Lance absolutely loved his time in the car, said the car can do the things he wants a car to do which is good, we were duly impressed with Lance," said Szafnauer in Formula 1's latest Beyond the Grid podcast.

"We were already impressed with him when he ran in the simulator. He was on the pace very quickly, up to Esteban's [Ocon] level in the simulator.

"We were just hoping the pace that he showed in the simulator would translate onto the race track and it did. He was very quick on track too."

Still a gem in the raw that requires refining, Stroll will continue to develop both his skills and race-craft with the support of his new team.

"So we've got some good potential there in Lance," added Racing point F1's American boss.

"We'll work with him to hopefully teach him some things we know about how to drive the tyre, how to preserve it and how to make it go quick and last over the stints and we'll do that with him, help him qualify better too.

"But he brings some great skills, he's quick, he usually does a great job at the start and over the first lap, he usually makes up places, so we look forward to working with him."

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