Bottas and Stroll at Williams for 2017

Bottas and Stroll at Williams for 2017

Young Canadian talent Lance Stroll will replace the retiring Felipe Massa at Williams for 2017, with Valtteri Bottas staying for a fifth season.

James Eagles

In an official announcement made to the press this morning, Wlliams have confirmed their hotly anticipated driver lineup for 2017.

New European Formula 3 champion Lance Stroll is set to make his Formula 1 debut alongside team furniture Valtteri Bottas, with the Grove outfit holding off the attentions of Renault to keep the Finn for another year, at least.

Canadian Stroll, 18, will replace Felipe Massa, who is retiring from Formula 1 at the end of the season, after three frustrating years with the team. He comes off the back of an ultra-successful season in European Formula 3 with the Prema Powerteam, winning the championship by 185 points, claiming 14 wins and a further six podiums in 30 races.

A costly deal

Not only an immensely quick talent, Stroll also brings considerable family financial backing to the team, through his father - the billionaire investor Lawrence, who has also financed a new simulator for the Williams team. Stroll's seat is set to cost around $35 million per year.

Formerly a member of the Ferrari Young Driver's Academy, the teenager joined the Williams team last year, and is currently undergoing an elongated, seven month test with the team in a 2014 car - in order to acclimatise himself with the sport, ahead of its most physically demanding season in the modern era, if early reports are anything to go by.

A long time coming

Despite the relatively late timing of the announcement, deputy Team Principal Clare Williams confirmed to press that the decision was made "a long time ago".

"The reason it has taken so long is diary management, Lance has had a busy F3 schedule and Valtteri has had the flyaway races," Williams told Autosport. "Lance has proved his credentials, that he deserves this seat in F1. As a team, we are notorious for bringing in young talent into F1."

With Bottas staying for another year, Renault's search for a partner for Nico Hulkenberg in 2017 goes on, with current driver Kevin Magnussen the favourite.