Lance Stroll confirmed at Williams for 2017 F1 season

(From left) Lance Stroll and Valtteri Bottas will be teammates at the Williams F1 team in 2017. (Photo: Williams Martini Racing)

Lance Stroll has been confirmed alongside Valtteri Bottas as the drivers for the Williams Racing Team in the 2017 Formula One World Championship.

Stroll will replace the outgoing Felipe Massa, who announced his retirement from the sport earlier this year. Massa’s last start will be at the 2016 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

For Bottas, this will be his fifth season with the team, while Stroll will make his F1 debut at the 2017 Australian Grand Prix.

Stroll is the 2016 European Formula 3 champion. He had been in the frame to replace Massa for a while but, with the team being sponsored by Martini, they had to wait for him to turn 18 before making the announcement official.

“To be racing in Formula One in 2017 is incredible,” said the Canadian. “I can’t thank Williams enough for showing faith in my ability. Racing in F1 was something I dreamt about as a young kid. When I began karting seriously, F1 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.”

In addition, Bottas stated that he was happy to be continuing with the Williams F1 team, and says he looks forward to racing alongside Stroll.

“I am very happy that I will be starting my fifth season racing for Williams in 2017,” said the Finn. “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. 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.”

“Lance joined the Williams Young Driver Programme at the end of 2015 and has impressed our engineers with his maturity, talent and enthusiasm,” said Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams. “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.”