Canadian teenager Stroll to race for Williams F1 team

Thu Nov 3, 2016 9:39am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

GROVE, England (Reuters) - Canadian teenager Lance Stroll will make his Formula One race debut with former world champions Williams next season, the team announced on Thursday.

Montreal-born Stroll, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Oct. 29 and has yet to pass his driving test, will be the first Canadian F1 racer since 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who won his title at Williams and retired in 2006.

The son of fashion billionaire Lawrence, who made a fortune from the Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors fashion brands, Stroll will partner experienced Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas at the Mercedes-powered team.

He replaces Brazilian Felipe Massa, who had already announced his retirement from Formula One.

"Just another regular Thursday," joked Stroll when asked at a news conference how he felt about the news. "I don't think it's quite sunk in yet. I've been focused on F3 in 2016.

"I come from money, I'm not going to deny that," added the Geneva resident, when it was suggested he would not be at the team without his father bankrolling his career, but adding that his record spoke for itself.

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams said the team, who celebrate their 40th anniversary next year, would not allow financial considerations to dictate driver selection.

"You either have the talent or you don't," she said.   Continued...

The newly announced Williams Martini Racing driver for the 2017 season Lance Stroll attends a media conference at their base in Wantage, Britain November 3, 2016.  REUTERS/Eddie Keogh