Williams Martini Racing has announced that Canadian teenager Lance Stroll has joined the team as a Development Driver ahead of the 2016 Formula 1 season.
The FIA European Formula 3 Championship race winner, 2014/15 Toyota Racing Series New Zealand champion and 2014 Italian Formula 4 champion will be integrated into the Williams team, with the aim of helping him progress with his career, much like they did with current race driver Valtteri Bottas when he joined the team in 2011.
“I’m really honoured to be part of such a great team and one with so much history and success,” revealed Stroll, who has already announced he will remain with Prema Powerteam in European Formula 3 in 2016.
“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.
“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.
“I won the Italian Formula 4 Championship last season in my first year of car racing after karts, won the Toyota Racing Series at the beginning of 2015 and finished fifth in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship in my first year which, having also won a race, hit my pre-season target. My future is now with Williams, which I’m very excited about.”
Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams has welcomed Stroll to the team, and identified the Canadian as a ‘promising talent for the future’.
“At Williams, we are committed to using our resource and expertise to help talented young drivers to reach their potential,” said Williams. “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 One.
“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.”