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Featured Williams Confirms Bottas and Stroll for 2017

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Paul Jeffrey, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Member Premium Member

    Williams Bottas Stroll Announcement.jpg
    Williams Martini Racing have today confirmed Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll will form the squad's 2017 driving lineup, as the legendary team seek to replace the outgoing Felipe Massa heading into the new season.

    It comes as no surprise to hear the announcement of Canadian youngster Stroll's signing to the team, the 18 year old son of billionaire Lawrence Stroll has been partaking in several test sessions driving a 2014 Williams chassis throughout the past year, alongside securing the 2016 FIA Formula Three drivers championship in only his third year of professional open wheel racing.

    Coming with substantial financial backing, it is perhaps unfair to immediately label the Stroll as a 'pay driver', the youngster has secured this season's coveted FIA Formula Three championship as well as previous success in both the Italian Formula 4 Series and the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand. In somewhat of an unprecedented move, Stroll has already completed many miles aboard Formula One machinery as the driver has been on a bit of a tour of Europe in recent months behind the wheel of a two year old Williams Grand Prix machine, courtesy of the rule where unlimited testing is allowed for drivers using machinery at least two seasons departed from the current spec machinery in use during the regular racing season.

    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.”
    Alongside the confirmation of Stroll returns Williams veteran Valtteri Bottas, looking to compete in his fifth season behind the wheel of a Williams machine, as the Finnish star continues his quest to secure his first Formula One Grand Prix victory for the Grove outfit. Once touted as a future World Champion by team founder Sir Frank Williams, Bottas has been in some demand during the past couple of years with both Ferrari and the newly reformed Renault team rumored to be interested in securing the services of the talented driver.

    Williams will be keen to ensure continuity alongside the 2017 rookie Stroll, and Bottas appears to be the perfect fit for the team as he continues to develop into his obvious potential after several up and down campaigns with the team.

    Speaking about the announcement Valtteri Bottas had the following to say;

    “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.”
    In other Williams news, Claire Williams has confirmed her father and team founder Sir Frank Williams is back at home and recovering well from a recent bout of pneumonia. Sir Frank, 74, was taken ill at the recent Italian Grand Prix in Monza but is now back at home following a short stay in hospital.

    "He's now back home and he's back at the factory,” Claire Williams said.

    “He came out of hospital on Monday. He contracted pneumonia after Monza and has been in hospital ever since. It has been a slow recovery, I'm pleased to say he's pretty much back to the old Frank we know and love. It's lovely to have him back with the team.”

    Outgoing driver Massa will retire from the sport at the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, bringing to a close a 252 Grand Prix career that has earned the Brazilian eleven Grand Prix wins and 41 podium positions in a career that took in drives at Sauber, Ferrari and Williams - peaking with a last lap championship loss to Lewis Hamilton during the 2008 racing season.

    Check out the Formula One forum here at RaceDepartment for the latest news and discussion regarding the pinnacle of open wheel racing. Join in the discussion today!

    Do you think Lance Stroll has done enough to earn his seat at Williams next season? Can Valtteri Bottas take the next step up in his career and challenge for wins in 2017? Let us know in the comments section below!
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
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  2. "To be racing in Formula One in 2017 is incredible, I can’t thank Williams enough for showing faith in my ability."
    "the 18 year old son of billionaire Lawrence Stroll"

    That's one hell of a surprise, that's all there is in F1 nowadays.
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  3. In before every hates on him because of money

    Winning F3 by 187 points and being better than most of the guys in GP2, maybe bar Giovinazzi, make him a very worthy replacement. Just think, we could have been stuck with blooming Ericsson or Nasr in that Williams, or some other crap driver.

    May I just add that he's been very quick in both years he's done in F3, the first one in the largest F3 ever pretty much
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  4. Bram

    Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    In before somebody makes the comment: Stolldonado. Oh wait :)
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  5. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
    Premium Member

    Yes I will admit that particular sentence did jump out at me...

    However he deserves his chance and he's earned the right by going through the lower formula and doing well in everything he's driven, good to see that happen as well. I do feel sorry for some drivers who spend millions doing well in GP2 and are largely ignored.

    Hope he does well in 2017 and Williams get their sums right and create a good car. The others have caught up over the last few seasons and they need to do better.

    Slightly surprised about Bottas, I had this feeling he might jump teams, maybe he still has one eye on that second Ferrari seat for 2017?

    Oh and good luck to Felipe, hope whatever he decides to do in the future will work out well for him :thumbsup:
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  6. F1 has been all about the youth integration lately, nice to see. I feel bad Lance is getting all the hate for "buying" his way in to this seat, despite mopping up several championships out on the track where it actually counts. Anyway it'll be great to see a Canadian racing in F1 again! Excited to support him next season...
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  7. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
    Premium Member

    Not at all my friend, he deserves his chance :thumbsup:

    Looking forward to see how he does in an F1 car, also 2017 is a clean sheet (almost) regulations wise so he'll almost be at the same level as the others from a learning perspective.

    EDIT: Just noticed on the photo, well done for wearing your poppies with pride :)
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  8. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
    RD's Two Wheeled Driving Specialist Staff Member


    Ok jokes, apart, call Nasr a crap driver is just wrong. Both him and Ericsson can drive, though they are driving a car which is lightyears behind even a damn Manor. But hey other than that, let's talk about Stroll:

    Is he a F3 champ? Yes. An undisputed one at that. The kid got skillz, he can be fast and furious (pun intended), but I don't think he's F1 ready. He's going the easy way, which is being a paid driver. But at least, Williams with his dad's money, just managed to get a state of the art top notch racing simulator.

    I hope he does good for F1, this batch of young drivers could bring a bit of excitement back to F1.
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  9. Tobias Röhner

    Tobias Röhner
    Germany's greatest Indycar Fan. Premium Member

    It's interesting that Williams is bringing him into the team as a full time driver just before the biggest rule change in F1 in ages... interesting to see whether he will be able to handle the beasts.
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  10. They can drive, but not very quickly. They aren't really F1 material to be honest. Same with Palmer

    Max was ready after one season of single seaters, Lance has had three seasons. I think he'll cope fine!

    Most people I've seen have decided to focus on money rather than talent. Hence why I made that comment. The "pay driver" label seems to have a stigma around it because of Maldonado. People hear the words "pay driver" and they instantly think of the worst
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  11. Hopefully he has skill because his dad has already put in a big investment for Williams, and will be putting an obscene amount of money into the team each year. In the lower formulas is difficult to say as the best infrastructure can get you the best car and an advantage over mostly spec competition.

    But 18 is too young. Everyone wants a Vettel and the publicity, and these things completely devalue classes like GP2 and the others, meant to be breeding grounds. And I haven't seen a reasonable adult (following or being a journalist, around F1 for at least 10 years) rate drivers such as Nasr or Gutiérrez as crap.
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  12. what I hate is that the rich kids have a chance to do 1 series, then another, then another and boom they're in F1, being rich and having a decent amount of skill, I still think people should be racing atleast 7-10 years in lower classes or even GT cars before being allowed in F1.
  13. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
    RD's Two Wheeled Driving Specialist Staff Member

    The discussion about Nasr and Ericsson is worthy of an another thread, since discussing here is off topic. Plus Stroll had the best development team (mostly due to his dad's money) in his 3 seasons in F4 and F3. I don't doubt his skill, but I stand firm on my ground, he's not ready for F1. I hope I bite my tongue with that statement.

    But what I saw from him, he has glimpses of being a very good driver, but he lacks maturity still. I hope his internship on Ferrari and Williams while being a development driver does him good on his first year as a F1 driver.
  14. fortyfivekev

    Premium Member

    Although you can to some extent buy results in F3 he obviously has some talent so deserves a shot. If nothing else he'll probably motivate Bottas to try a bit harder.

    Best wishes to Sir Frank, a true legend of the sport.
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  15. I wonder how life is when you have zero worries about money and when you can have anything you like. Must be ****ing nice.
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  16. Maldonado was much better than many pay drivers in the 90's. Compared to Inoue or Deletraz, Maldonado is highly skilled.. he isn't 'the worst'.

    I think Stroll will prove to be a challenge for Bottas.. I also wonder how Williams will cope with next year's rules, looking at their financial situation
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  17. Maybe it's because GP2 has failed as a "feeder" series. GP2 has such a bull poop rule with the champions not being able to race the next season. The rule would be understandable if the champion was guaranteed an F1 seat but that isn't how it works. From GP2, if you aren't snatched up by an F1 team, you're pretty dead in the water. Champions get forgotten about so easily nowadays. Who the hell remembers Davide Valsecchi or Fabio Leimer? F1 bosses don't. The only place to go is championships like FE or WEC, and they are simply forgotten there. Same will happen to Giovinazzi or Gasly.

    Winning F3 doesn't leave you dead in the water, and the quality has been very good in the past. The quick drivers with backing and a shot of an F1 seat skip GP2 straight to F1 to prevent having a dead end career in GP2. There are still more series above F3 on the ladder as well, so you can move up the ranks still like Ocon did. GP2 doesn't give you that freedom. It's the big leagues or be forgotten
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  18. Also, who from GP2 would you give that seat too? Giovinazzi and Gasly are the only two who seem good enough for F1 at this current point, and Gasly ain't getting an F1 drive. Alex Lynn was every underwhelming this season, Jordan King reminds me too much of Palmer, Marciello has been in GP2 for way too long and hasn't mounted a serious challenge ever, same with Markelov. Sirotkin should have done more in probably the best GP2 team. Matsushita isn't good enough for F1. Evans has not improved, and has gone down the Formula E road. Rowland and Ghiotto aren't ready (yet). Then you get complete garbage like Gelael and Armand and Jeffri and Eriksson and De Jong
  19. fortyfivekev

    Premium Member

    You can't buy everything. Even his dad can't buy him an F1 title if he doesn't have the talent to back it up.
  20. Shawn Jacobs

    Shawn Jacobs
    SpeedyMite Racing Premium Member

    Definitely good to see Williams making bank, they are a great historic team and when they are competitive its definitely a plus for f1.

    My only issue is gp2, almost seems like what's the point of it, if you make it to gp2 you've pretty much missed your opportunity for f1. Wherlien came through dtm, Verstappen and Stroll f3, Ocon dtm/f3, only Stoffel went through gp2 (and we all know that sim racing is really what made it for him :roflmao:)
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