Williams Formula 1 drive still hasn't sunk in, rookie Stroll admits

Lance Stroll says the fact he will make his Formula 1 debut this year with Williams is still yet to sink in

Williams Formula 1 drive still hasn't sunk in, rookie Stroll admits

The 18-year-old enters F1 in 2017, stepping up after winning last year's Formula 3 European Championship.

While Stroll closed on the seat during the second half of 2016, with an announcement made in early November, he says his head is still not quite around the fact he will be on the Australian Grand Prix grid in March.

"I love Formula 1, I've been watching it ever since I've been a little boy," he said at Autosport International on Saturday.

"It's incredible for me to think I'm here [as an F1 driver].

"It hasn't really completely sunk in yet, I think I'm only going to feel it when I'm on the grid in Melbourne.

"Then you're obviously there and the lights are going to go off and you're going to have to forget everything and concentrate.

"It's a hell of a challenge - there's going to be a lot to learn during the year, there are going to be hard times, there's going to be good times.

"It's going to be an incredible journey."

Stroll completed a testing programme devised by Williams that resembled fellow Canadian Jacques Villeneuve's preparation two decades earlier, in the team's 2014 car.

Next year's F1 cars will be significantly faster with revamped aerodynamics and wider tyres, which Stroll has factored into his preparation ahead of testing at Barcelona at the end of February.

"I've been reading manuals and learning switches to know," he said.

"And also a lot of preparation in the gym to get fit for this year's car, which is supposed to be a lot harder to drive.

"I've driven a Formula 1 car, that's good. It's better than not driving one at all and going straight from F3 to this year's car.

"I need to stay focused and be ready for this year's car, and this year's car's challenges are going to be different to what I learned in the 2014 car.

"It's another machine and it's another race car and I've been driving race cars my whole life."

Autosport International continues in Birmingham on Sunday, with 1997 world champion Villeneuve, Claire Williams and Rob Smedley from Williams, and Red Bull's Adrian Newey among the guests.

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