By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
The biggest open secret in the racing world has finally been confirmed. After Lance Stroll’s billionaire father Lawrence Stroll, the Canadian fashion magnate purchased Sahara Force India F1 Team and saved it from the brink of bankruptcy in August, everyone in the paddock has been waiting for the announcement that Lance would leave the beleaguered Williams outfit for his father’s new team.
That confirmation came today as the team announced that Stroll has agreed to a long term deal with the team and joins Sergio Perez for their 2019 line up.
“This is the beginning of an incredibly exciting journey in my Formula One career,” said Stroll. “I look forward to working alongside a successful team with a great culture. It’s a new challenge and I am excited to embrace this new opportunity!”
Team Principal, American Otmar Szafnauer seemed relieved with the announcement. “I’m pleased that we can finally confirm Lance’s arrival to race alongside Sergio next year. It gives us an exciting line-up with the perfect blend of youth, talent, and experience. Lance is only twenty and already has two years of Formula One experience under his belt, as well as a podium finish and a front row start. We see huge potential in Lance and believe we can create an environment in which he can flourish.”
The highlights Szanfnauer referred to were two of the only bright points from Stroll’s debut year with Williams where he was regularly outshone by veteran Felipe Massa who tried to mentor the recalcitrant newcomer. Williams 2018 challenger was so far off the pace, that it is difficult to judge Stroll’s season as he and team mate Sergey Sirotkin were often at the back of the field.