New Williams Formula One development driver Lance Stroll says he was convinced to join the British team in the light of its faith in young talents.
The Canadian had been a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy since 2010 until he was appointed to a junior role at Williams. Stroll will be “fully immersed” within the Grove-based outfit and carry out extensive sessions in the simulator, while also attending several grand prix weekends.
Speaking to GPUpdate.net, the 17-year-old calls Williams “a pure racing team” and already feels part of “a family”.
“They obviously believe in young talent, young drivers, and that's very important for us,” he said. “There are a lot of teams who don't believe in young drivers, and they'll take World Champions and pay them a lot of money. Williams isn't looking for that. They believe in young drivers from the junior categories to come up and go in a Formula 1 car.
Stroll joins Williams in the same capacity as Valtteri Bottas, who came on board as a development driver in 2011 before gradually making his way to a race seat. While the Formula 3 race winner admits these are still early days to think about graduating to F1, he is also keen to follow the example set by the Finn down the road.
“It's not what we're thinking about at the moment, but again, that's another big reason we liked the idea of going to Williams. There have been many drivers come from a development role, go into the team and be good. Not just a driver who arrives and disappears, Williams really knows how to develop drivers in the correct manner, to give them seat time and so on.
“We can see that with Valtteri. He came to Formula One and he was very strong immediately. Nico Rosberg in the past came into Formula One with Williams. It's good to know that they believe in young drivers, and it's also good to know that they develop them in a good way to be successful in the future.”
Stroll will dovetail his 2016 F1 commitment with a second campaign in the highly-contested European F3 championship, driving for renowned outfit Prema Powerteam.
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