WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING has appointed Canadian teenager Lance Stroll to its Young Driver Development Programme.
The 17-year-old, who was a race winner in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and champion of the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand in 2015, will receive the team’s support in the next stage of his racing career.
Stroll will be fully-immersed into the WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING team during 2016, in a similar capacity to that of Valtteri Bottas when he first joined the team in a development role in 2011.
The programme includes extensive simulator time, work placements in several departments throughout the factory, as well as specific training in the fields of race engineering and marketing.
Stroll will continue to race in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in 2016.
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, said: “At Williams, we are committed to using our resource and expertise to help talented young drivers to reach their potential. 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.
“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. We look forward to working with Lance in 2016 and to the success he can achieve in the future.”
Commenting on his new appointment, Lance Stroll, added: “I’m really honoured to be part of such a great team and one with so much history and success. I cannot wait to start working with Williams and very much hope we can achieve great things together in the coming years. It’s a very exciting and crucial time in my short motor racing career. Reaching F1 was always the ultimate goal, I suppose ever since driving a go-kart my father had bought me for my fifth birthday.
“Williams has a long history of nurturing young drivers at the start of their F1 careers. David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Nico Hülkenberg and most recently Valtteri [Bottas]. This element was something that was important to me in making the decision to join Williams. I won the Italian Formula 4 Championship last season in my first year of car racing after karts, won the Toyota Racing Series at the beginning of 2015 and finished fifth in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship in my first year which, having also won a race, hit my pre-season target. My future is now with Williams, which I’m very excited about.”