Lance Stroll tipped to replace Felipe Massa at Williams
European F3 championship leader Lance Stroll has emerged as a clear favorite to replace Felipe Massa at Williams in 2017.
The Canadian teenager joined Williams as a development driver in November 2015, having previously been a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy.
Sources in the Monza paddock have indicated that the deal for him to race has already been agreed in principle - but he will first have to guarantee that he qualifies for an FIA superlicense in 2017.
Stroll tops the F3 points table with three weekends, and thus nine races, still to run. Thanks to winning the Italian F4 title in 2014 and finishing fifth in European F3 last year, in theory he needs only to finish third this year to qualify for a superlicense. He becomes eligible for one after he turns 18 on Oct. 29.
However, there is an obvious desire for him to win the F3 title anyway and thus further justify his graduation to both the management and sponsors of Williams.
Stroll's father Lawrence is an owner of the Prema GP2 outfit, and the original plan was for Lance to race for it next year.
However, the feeling in the Stroll camp is that he has exceeded expectations this year and done enough in F3 to make the move straight to F1, and it would be better for him to continue his education at Williams rather than risk being beaten in GP2.
Meanwhile, it's understood that if the Williams deal falls though for any reason, Stroll could be a candidate for Force India if Sergio Perez leaves.