Williams Martini Racing have announced their 2017 driver lineup after much speculation in recent weeks over which driver will take Felipe Massa's place after the Brazilian confirmed his retirement from formula one. Valtteri Bottas has retained his seat and will be partnered by Canadian driver Lance Stroll.
Stroll is a 18-year-old driver from Montreal, Canada and currently taking part in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. He won the championship this year by a large margin and will become the second youngest driver to drive in F1 after Max Verstappen, who re-wrote history books last year when he drove for Toro Rosso six-months shy of his 18th birthday.
The Canadian prodigy was part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, but last year jumped ship to join Williams, who offered him a faster route to the top echelon of motorsport. His move has paid off after Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams confirmed his appointment as Bottas' teammate for the 2017 f1 season.
Stroll becomes the first Canadian driver to race in F1 since Jacques Villeneuve, who won the F1 Drivers' title in 1997 with Williams. The Canadian is likely to face comparison with his illustrious compatriot during the season, and will also be judged against the other young drivers on the grid including Verstappen, who has already in a very short span of time established himself as one of the fastest drivers on the grid.
"I don't think it's completely sunk in yet. I'm looking forward to what I can achieve with this team. It's a dream come true for me. I'm really looking forward to hopefully a great season!" Stroll was quoted as saying by Williams official Twitter account.
The 2017 driver lineup is slowly taking shape with most teams likely to name their final lineups in the coming months. Below is a list of teams and the confirmed drivers for next season.
Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg
Red Bull Racing – Daniel Ricciardo & Max Verstappen
Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel & Kimi Raikonnen
Force India – Sergio Perez & TBC
Williams – Valtteri Bottas & Lance Stroll
Renault – Nico Hulkenburg & TBC
McLaren – Fernando Alonso & Stoffel Vandoorne
Toro Rosso – Carlos Sainz & Daniil Kvyat
Haas Racing Team – Romain Grosjean & TBC
Sauber – TBC
Manor Racing – TBC