Williams has announced its drivers for the 2017 season, with the team retaining Valtteri Bottas for a fifth consecutive season and introducing European Formula 3 champion, Lance Stroll.
Stroll’s debut at next year’s Australian Grand Prix will make him the second youngest Formula 1 driver behind Max Verstappen, and will become the first Canadian driver on the grid since Jacques Villeneuve’s departure from the sport 10 years ago.
“To be racing in Formula One in 2017 is incredible,” Stroll said. “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.”
While Stroll may be known to the sport as a young kid who has a large financial backing thanks to his father, Lawrence Stroll, he acknowledges the cash-cloud hanging over his head and is out to prove doubters wrong.
“Everyone has their own opinion, I can’t change that. I come from money, I’m not going to deny that. I believe I won my shot in F1, because I won every championship I’ve competed in in single seaters. Now the FIA have put in super licence for that reason, that people can’t buy their way into F1, you have to prove yourself and win in junior categories.
“I don’t want to say when I’ll be able to show I’m not just here for money. That just depends on some many things and various things falling into place. I’m just going to worry about my business. I’m very happy to be here join looking forward to next season.”
Bottas, who will lead Williams’ championship campaign in 2017, has been with the team for eight years having joined the Grove-based squad as a test driver, and now becomes one of the longest serving drivers to remain with a sole team in the sport.
“I am very happy that I will be starting my fifth season racing for Williams in 2017,” said Bottas. “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% 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 am very thankful for the team for everything so far and trusting me and my ability. I am also getting better all the time and I feel like we still have a lot to achieve together, I feel like we haven’t yet achieved what we should and hopefully next year we can do it together. I am very pleased, time flies. I started here as a test driver eight years ago, it goes so quickly. I want to say welcome to Lance to the team, I am sure we can do great things together.”
Image via Williams Martini Racing