The Williams Martini Racing Team became the latest Formula One outfit to confirm their driver line-up for the 2017 season.
Despite speculation linking him with a move to Renault, Valtteri Bottas remains with the Grove based team and will be joined by Canadian rookie Lance Stroll.
Stroll joins the team as the 2016 Formula 3 champion. The 18 year old replaces Felipe Massa who announced earlier this season that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the season meaning he has just two races left this season starting with next weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix which will be an emotional event as it will be his final home race.
The Grove based outfit are financially secure despite the fact that they will most likely finish the year in fourth or fifth place in the Constructors championship having ended the 2015 season in third place.
Stroll brings financial backing to the team from his father, Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, however this was in no way a factor in Williams deciding to sign the 18 year old.
Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams revealed that the reason behind the late announcement of their drivers was purely down to the fact that their schedule’s did not sync up with Bottas doing the flyaway races while Stroll was busy wrapping up the F3 title which has a marathon schedule.
Alongside his F3 commitments, Stroll who was part of the Ferrari young driver programme was working hard with Williams after joining the team 12 months ago as their development driver carrying out simulator work and familiarizing himself with a Grand Prix carrying out testing in a 2014 Williams.
Stroll will continue his preparation to enter Formula One ahead of Winter Testing which gets underway on February 27 at Barcelona’s Circuit Du Catalunya.