GROVE, England — Williams Martini Racing confirmed on Thursday that Canadian Lance Stroll will embark on his rookie season in the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2017, alongside team veteran Valtteri Bottas.
Stroll, 18, won the 2014 Italian Formula 4 championship and the 2015 Toyota Racing Series championship in New Zealand. Stroll has progressed through the Williams Young Driver Program and clinched the European Formula 3 title this year in dominant style, winning 14 races and 14 poles.
Stroll replaces veteran Felipe Massa, who announced in September that he would be retiring at the conclusion of the season.
“To be racing in Formula One in 2017 is incredible, I can’t thank Williams enough for showing faith in my ability,” said Stroll. “Racing in F-1 was something I dreamt about as a young kid. When I began karting seriously, F-1 was then the ultimate goal and especially when I started racing cars in 2014.
“2017 is going to be a big learning curve for me, but I’m eager to absorb everything Williams can share with me so that I improve. I’ll be taking things on a race-by-race, lap-by-lap basis and hopefully progress with experience like I did when I entered Formula 4 and then Formula 3.”
Bottas will begin his fifth Formula One season driving for Williams Martini Racing next year. His career record-to-date boasts seven podium finishes and a best points effort of fourth in 2014.
“Firstly, I am very happy that I will be starting my fifth season racing for Williams in 2017. It’s going to be an exciting year with all the regulation changes and a great opportunity for the team to get closer to the front,” said Bottas. “I’ll be giving 100 percent as always to the team. Thank you to Frank, Claire and the whole Williams Board for their continued trust in me. Also, thank you to everyone at Williams, as it will be nice to continue working together with everyone both at the factory and the track.
“I’d also like to extend a very warm welcome from myself to Lance on joining the team. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”
“I’m delighted to confirm that Valtteri will be racing for Williams once again next year, and be joined by Lance Stroll,” said deputy team principal Claire Williams. “Valtteri is a much-loved member of the team and his talent is unquestionable, so for him to use that experience to help lead the team forward is exciting. He has played a pivotal role in the team’s turnaround since 2014 and we are looking forward to continuing the strong relationship we have with him into the future.
“Lance joined the Williams Young Driver Program at the end of 2015 and has impressed our engineers with his maturity, talent and enthusiasm. We are pleased to be able to offer him the opportunity to step up and show what he can do in Formula One, after proving a dominant force in all the categories he has raced in so far. He is still young, and we looking forward to seeing him develop as a driver. Williams has a great record of introducing young drivers to Formula One, who have achieved great results, and we hope this will be the start of a long successful career for Lance as well.”
CREDIT: Williams Martini Racing