Claire Williams insists Williams Martini Racing chose their 2017 driver line-up based on talent despite Lance Stroll having financial links with billionaire father Lawrence, a fashion entrepreneur.
The Williams Deputy Team Principal announced the eighteen-year-old Canadian alongside Valtteri Bottas for next season in place of the retiring Felipe Massa, and insists that the talent Stroll has showed in his career to date warrants the promotion to Formula 1.
Stroll has three championships to his name since debuting in single seaters back in 2014, taking the Italian Formula 4 Championship in his rookie season, the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand in 2015, and most recently the FIA European Formula 3 Championship this year.
“I know there have been a lot of comments about Lance’s background and I want to make it clear Williams has been a team that has made a statement of intent we would not allow financial considerations to influence our driver choice,” said Williams on Autosport. “That has been the case this year.
“Money doesn’t drive performance – you either have the talent or you don’t. Lance has proved he has talent and has what done what he has done. He has to do the job next year, and he will do that, to dispel those rumours.”