By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
After much speculation Williams has finally announced that European F3 Champion Lance Stroll will join Valtteri Bottas for the 2017 Formula One season, replacing retiring veteran Felipe Massa.
Stroll, who turned 18 last Saturday, has followed in the path of Max Verstappen, by showing incredible promise in the junior series. In further assistance to Williams and its battle to stay at the sharp end of the grid is Lawrence Stroll, his billionaire father, an investor and fashion magnate in their native Canada, who also happens to own the Mont-Tremblant race circuit.
In preparation for what will likely be the fastest Grand Prix cars in history, Williams has put Stroll on a seven month test program in a two year old FW36 to help him with the enormous leap up from Formula 3.
Stroll will be the first Canadian in F1 since 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve left the sport in 2006. He will join a proud lineage that includes Jacques and his legendary father Gilles.
Team Principal Claire Williams heaped praise on their new driver at the announcement, “We made this decision a long time ago. No other reason than that. Lance has proved his credentials, that he deserves this seat in F1. As a team, we are notorious for bringing in young talent into F1. This year alone he has annihilated the F3 championship. He truly deserves this seat and I’m excited to see what he’ll do next year.”
The move leaves Valtteri Bottas the undisputed team leader as he enters his what will be his fifth season with the Grove squad. In that time he has scored 9 podiums, but is yet to achieve his maiden victory. Something Williams hopes to crack with all the money the team will reap from the Stroll deal.