Stroll: Titles show I've earned my F1 chance

Lance Stroll insists his championship-winning form in junior categories should be more than enough to silence sceptics who claim he has only earned his Formula 1 chance through money rather than talent.

The Canadian was confirmed on Thursday as a Williams F1 driver for 2017, when he will team up with Valtteri Bottas for his rookie campaign.

But although his path to F1 has been eased thanks to the backing of his billionaire father Lawrence Stroll, the Canadian insists that titles he has won in F4, Toyota Racing Series and European F3 shows that he has not simply bought his way in to grand prix racing.

When asked what it will take him to dispel the critics who say his move to Williams is only about money, Stroll said: "Everyone has their own opinion, and I can't change that. I come from money, I am not going to deny that.

"But I believe I have my shot in F1 because I won every championship I competed in single-seaters. I won F4, I went to New Zealand and won the Toyota Racing Series, and I won the F3 European championship in 2016.

"Now the FIA has put in a superlicence for just that reason because people cannot just buy their way in to F1.

"You have to prove yourself and win in junior categories, and that is all I can really say about that. I don't want to say exactly when I will be able to show that I am not just here for money, because it depends on so many other things, and so many details coming into place.

"But I am just going to worry about my business and I am here today very happy to be joining Williams and I am looking forward to next season."

Talent matters

Williams' deputy team principal Claire Williams insists that Stroll is a part of the outfit's line-up for 2017 because of the speed he has shown in junior categories rather than because of financial backing.

"I know there has been a lot of commentary about Lance's background and I would like to make it very clear to everybody that Williams has been a team over the past few years that has made it very clear and a statement of intent that we would not allow financial considerations to influence our driver choice," she said. "And that is absolutely the case this year.

"Money doesn't drive performance in the cockpit. You either have the talent or you don't – and I think Lance has proved that he has got that talent and he has done what he has done to earn his race seat in F1. He has to do the job next year in F1 and he will do that."

Williams admitted that as a rookie there were likely to be mistakes from Stroll, but one quality that she had seen the Canadian have was his ability to recover from errors.

"It will be Lance's rookie year in F1 and, as much as we are doing a lot of work behind the scenes [with a 2014 car test programme] in order to to make sure he is as prepared as possible going into Melbourne next year, it is going to be an eye opener.

"He is so capable, extremely intelligent and he put the works in. The one thing I have learned about Lance over the 12 or so months I have had the pleasure of being in his company is that his work ethic is second to none.

"For a 17-year-old to have achieved what he has achieved in such a short space of time, we have total confidence that when he gets into the cockpit in Melbourne he can deliver.

"But like every rookie does in this sport, he will need time to bed in. I am sure there will be some mistakes, but that will be an inevitability. One thing we have learned from Lance is that he learns from his mistakes very quickly."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Lance Stroll
Teams Williams
Article type Breaking news