NOVEMBER 3, 2016
Williams announce Bottas and Stroll for 2017
The Williams-Mercedes team today announced their 2017 Formula One line-up of Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll to drive for the British team.
The 18-year-old Canadian won the Formula 3 European Championship this year with 14 poles and 14 wins, and will replace the retiring Felipe Massa. Stroll joined the Williams young driver programme last year and has been competing F3 with the Prema Power team, and began testing with a 2014-spec Williams F1 car starting this August, and has had six days in the car so far.
Stroll said, "To be racing in Formula One in 2017 is incredible, I can™t thank Williams enough for showing faith in my ability. Racing in F1 was something I dreamt about as a young kid. When I began karting seriously, F1 was then the ultimate goal and especially when I started racing cars in 2014."
"2017 is going to be a big learning curve for me, but I™m eager to absorb everything Williams can share with me so that I improve. I™ll be taking things on a race-by-race, lap-by-lap basis and hopefully progress with experience like I did when I entered Formula 4 and then Formula 3.
œI believe contesting the FIA European Formula 3 Championship for the past two years has prepared me well for the step up. There are many elements for me to learn and I™m still young. I™ve been experiencing a 2014-spec Williams FW36 since August, which has gone very well. The power is incredible. I™m learning about the car, the incredible downforce, DRS and tyre management, finding a rhythm and finding the limit. I™m becoming more comfortable and confident with each run.
"I™ve enjoyed success in karting, F4, Toyota Racing Series and most recently F3 “ winning every category I™ve competed in “ so I believe I have earned a shot in F1. I™m very thankful to everyone who has helped me to reach this level."
Bottas, who has been racing in F1 with Williams since 2013, has signed for the team for another season after much speculation about interest in the Finnish driver.
Bottas said, "Williams is like my family. Going into next season, it will be eight years in total since I joined at the start of 2010, so it really does feel like home here. However, I still believe we haven™t yet achieved what we should, and can do together.
Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams said, "I™m delighted to confirm that Valtteri will be racing for Williams once again next year, and be joined by Lance Stroll. Valtteri is a much-loved member of the team and his talent is unquestionable, so for him to use that experience to help lead the team forward is exciting. He has played a pivotal role in the team™s turnaround since 2014 and we are looking forward to continuing the strong relationship we have with him into the future."
"Lance joined the Williams Young Driver Programme at the end of 2015 and has impressed our engineers with his maturity, talent and enthusiasm. We are pleased to be able to offer him the opportunity to step up and show what he can do in Formula One, after proving a dominant force in all the categories he has raced in so far. He is still young, and we looking forward to seeing him develop as a driver. Williams has a great record of introducing young drivers to Formula One, who have achieved great results, and we hope this will be the start of a long successful career for Lance as well."
"As a team, we continue to push forward in our goal to win races and championships, and believe this exciting fresh combination will put us in a strong position to deliver on our future targets.