Williams sign Stroll, Bottas for 2017

Williams Martini Racing has confirmed that Valtteri Bottas will race with the team for a fifth consecutive season and he will be joined by Lance Stroll who will make his Formula One debut replacing Felipe Massa.


Since beginning his karting career in 2008, aged eight, Lance Stroll has gone on to secure the 2014 Italian Formula 4 Championship title and 2015 Toyota Racing Series title in New Zealand, with numerous wins to his name. Lance has progressed through the Williams Young Driver Program alongside clinching the 2016 European Formula 3 title with 14 race wins and 17 front-row starts, 14 from pole position. At the age of just 18, the comparisons over his chance at F1 are similar to those of Max Verstappen.

Speaking about the announcement Valtteri Bottas said;

“Firstly, I am very happy that I will be starting my fifth season racing for Williams in 2017. It’s going to be an exciting year with all the regulation changes and a great opportunity for the team to get closer to the front. I’ll be giving 100% as always to the team. Thank you to Frank, Claire and the whole Williams Board for their continued trust in me. Also, thank you to everyone at Williams, as it will be nice to continue working together with everyone both at the factory and the track.

“I’d also like to extend a very warm welcome from myself to Lance on joining the team. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.

“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.”

Lance Stroll added;

“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.

“I 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.”

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, 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.”

If the announcement were not good enough news, Sir Frank Williams has been released from hospital following a bout on pneumonia.

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Tom Firth

Very little outrage about his age, only about the cash he brings on social media. Selective mobocracy rant time?

Negative Camber

Agreed. I notice the tweets about his father’s wealth and nothing about being 18 like there was regarding Max. Mx has a dad in F1, Lance has a father who has funded his racing career and given their results in junior racing and even F1 in Max’s case, does either of those factors make them any less worthy of a seat? As if pay drivers just began with Lance. Get a grip folks.


Williams have a bit of history hiring young chargers with big bucks behind them. From 2011 to 2013 they ran the mighty Pastor Maldonado. They obviously used Pastor’s PDVSA money to good effect, as they won a race in 2012, and developed the car that took them to third in the wcc in 2014 and 2015.
So even if Lance does turn out to be as crash-tastic as Pastor was, we can rest assured Williams will be putting the Stroll cash to very good use.

Tom Firth

Well yeah, its hardly the first time Williams, even in the glory years hired drivers for either discount engines or at the behest of the sponsor.

Throughout a lot of the history of the team. I think the word ‘conservative’ when it comes to spending, not coming from the sponsors is correct, compared to Ferrari and Mclaren who had stronger budgets, throughout.

Tom Firth

That’s always been the argument when it came to driver contract renewal and keeping both engineering and driver talent in the team was that WIlliams was not prepared to offer the kind of money, Ferrari or Mclaren would, even for world champions and top engineering talent.

charlie white

Another UK-based F1 site discussed Stroll’s time in lesser series and his tendency to either be in accidents or cause accidents. No doubt he’s financially set with his father buying a chunk of the team but he has come up through feeder series to get this far. I only worry that he’ll be crunching up a lot of Frank’s cars during his 40th anniversary season in 2017

Negative Camber

Could be, I haven’t followed his career to be honest and just wrote and editorial about it but regardless, he’s worked hard to get there and his dad has opened doors. Did Max or Nico’s fathers not do anything similar? Does Susie Wolff’s association with Mercedes have nothing to do with Toto’s presence there? Did Nelson Piquet have little to do with his son’s entrance into F1? Doe Jean Todt’s role have nothing to do with his son’s successful career in motorsport management? Oddly enough, the two people who would have really benefitted from their father but aren’t involved are… Read more »

Tom Firth

@disqus_KRDawncUig:disqus @negativecamber:disqus 2015 Lance Stroll was certainly nowhere near ready for F1, his first season in F3 showed flashes of brilliance but an awful lot of accidents, some extreme, some less so, including the ban at Spa for taking out Jensen and Rosenqvist through a lack of judgement on the kemmel straight. That got him parked, and the season was not great. 2016 Lance Stroll in F3 was a completely different character, he was on the podium practically every weekend. Zandvoort wasn’t his fault but he had a double DNF there, that was Prema, his team messing up. The consistency… Read more »


He must have got a better driver coach or something because he really improved this year.

Jeff Caughlin

One thing money didn’t buy was Lance’s signing and F1 was featured on a national newscast in Canada. A good news story for F1 fans and the Canadian Grand Prix.

Negative Camber

Agreed, first driver since JV. I think it’s great and I love our Canadian neighbors. Great people who support F1 incredibly well and deserve to have a driver in the sport. Besides, you folks gave the world Billy bishop…nuff said. ;)

Tom Firth

Still think it’s a little bit of a shame Robert Wickens never got a race seat with Marussia, back when.

He looked promising in junior single seaters, never got beyond a test driver role in F1 though.


I agree, Wickens should have made it on merit but was testing with the Lotus team that was broke.
He beat Riciardo and Buemi to the F3.5 title but ended up in DTM.

Bruno Tattaglia

Lance is not the problem. There were, there are, and there will always be rich kids that want to drive a F1 car. The real problem is having teams in F1 that needs this rich kids. 20 years ago….with a 16 team grid, only the last 2 or 3 teams had this kind of approach…Remember Tuero in Minardi or Mazzacane in Minardi and Prost? But the blood reached the river. Sauber, Williams….two of the long lasting teams in F1 are in need of rich kids with money. There must be something wrong with F1. How long will we have 4… Read more »