E s was a poorly kept secret. Williams rides with Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll in 2017. A mixture of young and old, of experience and debutants. Lance Stroll is not just any newbie. The Formula 3 European Champion is the son of the Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who made his living with the fashion companies Pierre Cardin, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. Stroll's net worth was estimated at $ 2.4 billion this year by business magazine Forbes.
Williams wisely announced its driver pairing on November 3rd. 6 days after the newcomer's 18th birthday. In 2017, Stroll took over from Max Verstappen as the youngest driver in the field. His way into Formula 1 sets new standards. The contract with Williams was the most expensive birthday present in motorsport history. No racing driver came into the premier class better prepared.
Lance Stroll drives in his own Formula 3 team
Lawrence Stroll is a car fanatic. He owns the former Formula 1 racetrack Mont Tremblant and has one of the most extensive Ferrari collections in the world. Two years ago, Stroll had negotiated with Sauber to buy the team. You couldn't agree. Then Stroll senior looked for another way into Formula 1 for his son.
He bought into the best Formula 3 racing team, Prema. On top of that. The cars spent many hours in the wind tunnel, the Mercedes engines got special maps thanks to development aid from Father Stroll and the experienced teammate Nick Cassidy was supposed to help Stroll junior with the tuning of the Dallara F312. Rumor has it that the Prema team had a non-aggression pact. Team captain Stroll was allegedly not allowed to be overtaken by his teammates.
Despite all the help, Stroll was the best man in the field of the Formula 3 European Championship. At the age of 17, the Canadian won the championship with 507 to 322 points against his stable rival Maximilian Günther. Stroll won the podium in 14 of the 30 races, the last five times in a row.
Special test program for Lance Stroll
After the son's superior performance, Stroll senior decided Skip the GP2 series and take the direct route to Formula 1. A big step from 230 to 950 hp. Allegedly the cockpit at Williams costs $ 35 million. But that's only part of investing in thatAdventure Formula 1. Stroll paid for an extensive test program in a 2-year-old Williams.
The Williams FW36 from 2014 is equipped with the first hybrid drive from Mercedes. This gives Lance Stroll realistic test conditions. Williams provides a 20-person test team, Mercedes 5 technicians, just to look after the engine. In Brixworth 2 new 2014 engines were built for the private tests. Pirelli supplies so-called Academy tires in hard, medium and soft mixtures. They are specially made for test drives with old Formula 1 cars.
Lance Stroll should not only get to know the car and the hybrid power, but also the race tracks. The closed circuit testing program began at Silverstone, followed by Budapest and the Red Bull Ring. On the weekend of the US GP in Austin, Lance Stroll did his laps in Monza for 2 days.
The further test program includes Barcelona, Abu Dhabi, Austin, Sochi and possibly Shanghai. Williams chief technology officer Pat Symonds compares: 'The last newcomer to come into Formula 1 with so many test kilometers was Jacques Villeneuve.'
Stroll senior also financed Williams the construction of a new high-tech simulator. This year only the son was allowed to use the system. The software was written for a Formula 3 car. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa had to be content with the old simulator. Only now will the simulation programs for next year's Williams FW40 be adapted.
And what did Lance Stroll's path to the premier class cost? Insiders rumored between 70 and 80 million dollars.
In the gallery we show you some pictures from Stroll's racing career in a fast run.