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Canadian teenager Lance Stroll gets a foot in the Formula 1 door

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Canadian teenager Lance Stroll gets a foot in the Formula 1 door
Nov 26, 2015, 10:23 PM

Williams has signed Canadian Formula 3 racer Lance Stroll to its young driver development programme, it was announced today.

Williams has signed Canadian Formula 3 racer Lance Stroll to its young driver development programme, it was announced today.

Stroll’s deal is similar to the one Valtteri Bottas was offered back in 2011 and the Canadian will work in Williams’ simulator as well as complete work placements in several of the team’s factory departments and undertake specific training in race engineering and marketing.

Valtteri Bottas

So far Stroll's personal connection with F1 has been as a member of the Ferrari Young Driver Academy, which he was in from his karting days. The other interesting thing about Stroll is that his father, Lawrence, has been orbiting F1 for many years. The billionaire built up and floated the Tommy Hilfiger (a Ferrari sponsor in the Schumacher years) and Michael Kors fashion and accessories brands and has long wanted his son to race in the highest echelons.

Lance Stroll

Even more interesting is that he's been looking for some time to take a stake in an F1 team and has kicked the tyres on most of the usual teams that have a "For Sale" sign in the background. As Lance builds his experience with Williams, watch out for Lawrence taking a stake in a team, ideally one with potential to be competitive. When Lance debuts in F1 it will not be enough for him to merely take part, he'll need to be with a team where he can compete.

He could be taking a long term view on Williams, for example, which already has multiple shareholders and is listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Meantime, the 17-year-old will continue to race in European F3, where he won one race on his way to fifth place in the championship standings in 2015, alongside his commitments with Williams next year.

Claire Williams, the squad’s deputy team principal, said: "At Williams, we are committed to using our resources and expertise to help talented young drivers to reach their potential.

“We have a track record of success in this area, having supported Valtteri Bottas in his growth from a development driver role to a race driver and one of the most respected talents in Formula 1.

"We have identified Lance as a promising talent for the future and we are happy to provide our support to his development as a driver. We look forward to working with Lance in 2016 and to the success he can achieve in the future."

Claire Williams

Speaking about his new appointment Stroll, said: "I’m really honoured to be part of such a great team and one with so much history and success. I cannot wait to start working with Williams and very much hope we can achieve great things together in the coming years.

“It’s a very exciting and crucial time in my short motor racing career. Reaching F1 was always the ultimate goal, I suppose ever since driving a go-kart my father had bought me for my fifth birthday.

Jenson Button

“Williams has a long history of nurturing young drivers at the start of their F1 careers. David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Nico Hülkenberg and most recently Valtteri [Bottas]. This element was something that was important to me in making the decision to join Williams.”
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Lance Stroll Shop Now
Teams Williams
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