Lance Stroll, Prema, F3, 2015

Stroll joins Williams as development driver

2015 F1 season

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Lance Stroll has joined Williams’ driver development programme having previously been backed by Ferrari.

The 17-year-old won the Italian Formula Four championship last year before stepping up to European Formula Three this year. He won once and placed fifth in the championship, the second-highest of the rookies.

Lance Stroll, Prema, European Formula Three, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015
Stroll won in debut F3 year after two big crashes
However he was also banned for one race after being blamed for high-speed crashes at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza.

“We have identified Lance as a promising talent for the future and we are happy to provide our support to his development as a driver,” said deputy team principal Claire Williams.

“We have a track record of success in this area, having supported Valtteri Bottas in his growth from a development driver role to a race driver and one of the most respected talents in Formula One,” she added.

Stroll, who also won the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand this year, said he was “honoured” to join Williams.

“Williams has a long history of nurturing young drivers at the start of their F1 careers,” he added. “David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Nico Hülkenberg and most recently Valtteri. This element was something that was important to me in making the decision to join Williams.”

Stroll is the son of Canadian fashion billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who was previously rumoured to be considering an investment in Williams.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Stroll joins Williams as development driver”

  1. What does this mean for Lynn? Or does he just come as something for the future and partly a replacement for Wolff. And do they still have Sutil as their 3rd driver to step in in case one of the regulars is unable to race?

  2. Ferrari lost him, I am surprised as he looked by far their best young driver, the others seemed ok in really small categories but then seem to fall short. I am going to read far too much into this, believe Eddie Jordon and say Ferrari have got something happening with Verstappen so their young driver focus is not needed owing to Verstappens young age. (I WILL IN NO WAY BE PUTTING MONEY ON THIS)

    1. Motorsport said yesterday that Charles LeClerc is likely replacing Stroll at the FDA, so who knows… :)

  3. Stroll is the son of Canadian fashion billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who was previously rumoured to be considering an investment in Williams.

    This obviously played no role in the decision whatsoever, particularly given the fact that the team’s last development driver (Susie Wolff) also had absolutely no connections to Williams investors. :/

  4. David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Nico Hülkenberg and Valtteri Bottas. Not the best company for some reason…

    1. A world champion, two drivers who have won 13 grands prix each and two of the best talents of their generation. I fail to see how they are “not the best company”.

    2. I sincerely hope this is sarcastic… Those are some of the most solid, respective drivers of their respective era.

      Sure, their names aren’t in the upper echelons of F1 history like Mika Hakkinen, Fernando Alonso et al. but to hold their names in a negative light is nothing but pure ignorance.

  5. We have identified Lance as a promising talent for the future and we are happy to provide our support to his development as a driver,

    OR, they positively identified him as a moneybag.
    Sure, he finished 5th in F3, but that’s neither particularly outstanding, nor did his on-track attitude look all too promising. There are dozens of drivers in the junior formulae that are just as promising, but none of them have billionaire fathers. And that’s pretty much all there is to say about him.

    1. He won f3 in debut year according to the article?

      1. He won one race (out of 33) in his debut year. He was one of 8 race-winners this season, 4 of them rookies. He finished 5th in the drivers’ championship, and 4th in the rookies’ championship (he was the second-best rookie in the drivers’ championship, but the rookie championship doesn’t consider overall results, only awarding points for the rookies’ relative performances instead).
        It’s safe to say that he hardly stood out in terms of performance.

      2. Lance Stroll got banned for 1 race because of his driving standards. Around Monza/Spa (F3 season) he was making so many scary and dangerous accidents that he really was a danger for the rest of the field. It is commendable that after being banned for 1 race he managed to learn from it, calm down, adapt his style and became a better driver. Somehow I got the feeling that his father buys the best for his son and thereby his career going a little bit faster than his talent warrants. Yes he is talented but the association with Williams might have been a season too soon, maybe 2 seasons.

    2. @nase 5th in his debut season out of what was the biggest field ever in the series is a very impressive showing, considering he was the rookie making the biggest jump (from F4) when you compare him to Leclerc, Russell and Albon, and he beat two of them. Not everyone can be Max Verstappen after all.
      I was really impressed by his on-track attitude in the second half of the year. He has always been a very clean racer (refer to his championship triumphs in the Toyota Racing Series and F4) but he seemed to make a string of misjudgments at Spa and Monza in particular. But he managed to get on top of that and was able to take ten top-fives in the last four rounds.
      The moment you call Stroll a pay driver, you’re earning a dressing down from anyone who has followed junior formulae closely.

  6. It’s an interesting signing. Especially with rumours around that Ferrari is to poach Max Verstappen’s former rival Charles Leclerc.

    Stroll is quick. There’s no doubting it. However his attitude last season was poor at best and you have to wonder whether Williams could change him into a consistent driver.

  7. Lynn left RedBull for Williams
    Stroll left Ferrari for Williams…

    K-mag is leaving McLaren for Williams?

    I cannot find Williams’ young driver programme very attractive.

  8. “We have identified Lance as a great source to top up our income and we are happy to provide him access to a little corner in our garage and occasional sessions in our simulator to support his development as a driver,” that is what deputy team principal Claire Williams really meant.

    1. Basically, he will be paying for testing time with the older Williams cars (over 2 years old to get around the FIA rules).

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