Lance Stroll and Valtteri Bottas confirmed as Williams’ drivers for 2017 Formula one season

Eighteen-year-old Canadian driver Lance Stroll joined Williams for the 2017 Formula 1 season with Valtteri Bottas confirmed as his team-mate.

Lance Stroll and Valtteri Bottas confirmed as Williams drivers for 2017 Formula one season
Lance Stroll (L) and Valtteri Bottas (R)

Canadian Formula 3-winner Stroll has become the second-youngest driver in F1 history after signing Williams. His will make his debut in March 2017.

His signing comes after a splendid European Formula 3 series win. He will replace Felipe Massa, who announced his retirement from F1 at Italian GP in September.

Stroll’s impressive title-winning Formula 3 campaign, in which he won 14 races, and financial package made Williams choose him over Sauber’s Felipe Nasr for the Brazilain’s seat.

The young talent will be joined by Williams’ old monk Valtteri Bottas. Bottas’ previous deal with Williams expired at the end of 2016 and he had been reportedly offered a long-term deal by Renault. The Finnish driver and a nine-time podium finisher during his five years with the Grove team has ended all speculation by committing his future to Williams.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams described the line-up as “a new chapter in Williams’ history” as she presented Stroll and Bottas to the assembled media.

“We made this decision a long time ago and it’s one we are really, really excited about,” she said.

Williams went on to give a glowing endorsement of her new driver, adding: “He is so capable, he’s extremely intelligent and he puts the work in. To achieve what he has achieved in such a short space of time, I have total confidence he will get in the car and deliver.”

Stroll confirmed to the media that he has had six test days in a 2014 Williams so far as he prepares for the 2017 campaign.

When he was asked about suggestions that he may be labeled a ‘pay driver’ owing to his family’s wealth, the Canadian has shown immediate defiant and insisted he has earned his F1 chance.

“Everyone has their own opinion, I can’t change that,” he said. “I come from money, I’m not going to deny that, but I believe I’ve earned my shot in F1 because I’ve won every championship that I’ve competed in.

“Now the FIA have put in superlicence [points] for just that reason, so people can’t just buy their way into F1. You actually have to prove yourself and win in the junior categories.”

The Williams has also seconded the statement by saying, “I’d like to make it very clear that Williams has been a team over the past few years that has made it very clear, and a statement of intent, that we would not allow financial considerations to influence over driver choice. That has absolutely been the case this year.

“Money doesn’t drive performance in the cockpit – you either have performance or you don’t. Lance has proved he has got that talent. He has to do the job next year in Formula 1, and we will do that, to dispel those rumours.”

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