SEPTEMBER 13, 2016

Stroll admits pressure of F1 debut rumours

Lance Stroll has admitted he is feeling the "pressure" of speculation linking him with the Williams race seat for 2017.

With Felipe Massa announcing his impending retirement at Monza, it is 17-year-old team development driver and Canadian Stroll who is most strongly linked with the drive.

Stroll's father is the fashion mogul and billionaire Lawrence Stroll, whose wealth and connections are said to have put together $35 million in backing for the youngster.

But Lance is also excelling in the highly competitive European F3 championship, and he has already qualified for a F1 Super License.

"Yes, I can win (the F3 title) before the end of the season, but I do not want to think about it," he told Radio-Canada.

Stroll also said he is not getting carried away by all the Williams talk, with some specialist publications even claiming a contract may already be in place.

"There is pressure," he admitted, "and a lot of people talking, but I just have to concentrate on finishing the season properly in F3.

"People talk about F1, and it's a bigger world, but in the end I can only do the best I can do."

What is clear is that Stroll will shortly begin a F1 track testing programme in a 2014-spec Williams car.

Stroll said: "I don't know all the details. Williams have developed a programme for me with the 2014 car, but I don't know when it will start. We will go on different tracks in Europe and outside Europe.

"I can't wait, it's exciting and I'll be busy. But we must separate the two worlds a little and focus on one thing at a time," he insisted.

Another option, he admitted, is a move into the GP2 series for 2017.

"If the opportunity comes, for sure F1 is where you want to be," said Stroll. "But if GP2 is what you have to do then you have to do it.

"I don't know yet. Both options are possible," he said.