Teenage Formula One rookie Lance Stroll may struggle with the physical and mental demands of the sport, Briton’s Jolyon Palmer has warned.
Stroll, 18, will be second only to Max Verstappen as the youngest driver to start a grand prix when he lines up on the grid in Australia later this month.
The Canadian, whose career has been bankrolled by his fashion billionaire father Lawrence Stroll, gained his first meaningful action behind the wheel of a Formula One car in Barcelona this week.
But he crashed three times and the final incident caused enough damage to force his Williams team to miss the concluding day of the test.
Stroll boasts an impressive resume in the junior categories of motor racing, but his error-prone week in Spain has thrust him into an unwanted spotlight.
“He is only 18 and there are a lot of physical demands in Formula One,” Palmer told Press Association Sport. “I am not sure you have physically finished developing at 18 and that is tough. I was still at school studying for my A-levels.
“The toughest bit may also be the psychological pressure because he has had a bad start. I know from myself last year, where the start was not easy, that people get on your back and you need to blank it out.”
This year’s cars are set to be the fastest ever following a radical overhaul in the way they are designed, something else which can make it more difficult for Stroll to adjust.
“He is very young and still inexperienced,” Palmer added. “Max did a very good job when he came in, but I do think he is a very special talent. He also had a lot of nursing with Red Bull and it was a different era in F1.
“I would say it is unfortunate the timing Lance has come into Formula One because the cars are so much quicker this year, but it is only one week and if he has a great test next week and gets on top of it no one will care that he has crashed.”