Lance Stroll is set to debut in a Force India next week at the post-season test at Abu Dhabi. Pirelli conducts a two day event following each season to test prototype tyres for the upcoming season, with teams oblivious to the compounds they are running.
Many teams use the test as an opportunity to run with young drivers or drivers that will be joining for the following season. Although Stroll has not been officially confirmed as a race driver for 2019 by the Silverstone squad, his seat was all but signed when his father purchased the team in August.
The two-day test will occur on the Tuesday and Wednesday following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is the last race of the season. Stroll's test will likely be preceded by official confirmation about his 2019 drive, with the Canadian commenting that he expects an announcement in the “in the very near future".
Stroll's signing will come at a cost of Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon. The Frenchman previously confirmed that he was in talks with Williams over a seat, however the Grove squad confirmed on Thursday that Robert Kubica would take the drive next year.
With Toro Rosso ruling out any chance of signing the Frenchman due to his links with Mercedes, the 21-year-old is set for a year on the sidelines, where he will work more prominently with the Mercedes team: "We’ll see what it [the future] holds for me," he said on Thursday.
"Definitely I will be around in the F1 paddock and trying to get as much mileage as possible in a Formula 1 car next year. Me and Mercedes, we see great opportunities for me to come back in 2020 so hopefully that will be the case and hopefully I will be back even stronger than I am now,” Ocon added.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing