Lance Stroll insists that he has reached Formula 1 with his performances in junior formulae rather than buying his ride, although he knows he has ‘come from money’ and is expecting to be labelled as a pay driver.
The eighteen-year-old Canadian will step into the Williams Martini Racing squad in 2017 alongside Valtteri Bottas, and has substantial backing from his billionaire father Lawrence, but has three championships to his name since debuting in single seaters back in 2014, including the FIA European Formula 3 Championship in 2016.
As such, Stroll believes he has earned his place on the Formula 1 grid, qualifying for his superlicence under the new guidelines, and is eager to get going.
“Everyone has their own opinion and I can’t change that,” said Stroll on Autosport. “I come from money, I’m not going to deny that.
“But I believe I earned my shot in F1 because I won every championship that I’ve competed in single-seaters. Now the FIA have put in the superlicence [criteria] for that reason, so people can’t buy their way into F1, and you have to prove yourself and win in junior categories.
“I don’t know what else to say about that. I don’t want to say when I’ll be able to show I’m not just here because of money because that just depends on some many things falling into place.
“I’m just going to worry about my business and I’m very happy to be here and am looking forward to next season.”