Williams has confirmed that Lance Stroll has left Ferrari to join its Young Driver Development Programme, as had been rumoured for some time.
The team says that the 17-year-old Canadian will be “fully immersed” into Williams, in the same way that Valtteri Bottas was when he first joined in 2011.
His programme will include “extensive simulator time, work placements in several departments throughout the factory, as well as specific training in the fields of race engineering and marketing.” Meanwhile he will continue to race in European F3.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams said: “At Williams, we are committed to using our resource and expertise to help talented young drivers to reach their potential. We have a track record of success in this area, having supported Valtteri Bottas in his growth from a development driver role to a race driver and one of the most respected talents in Formula One.
“We have identified Lance as a promising talent for the future and we are happy to provide our support to his development as a driver. We look forward to working with Lance in 2016 and to the success he can achieve in the future.”
Stroll added: “I cannot wait to start working with Williams and very much hope we can achieve great things together in the coming years. It’s a very exciting and crucial time in my short motor racing career. Reaching F1 was always the ultimate goal, I suppose ever since driving a go-kart my father had bought me for my fifth birthday.
“Williams has a long history of nurturing young drivers at the start of their F1 careers. David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Nico Hülkenberg and most recently Valtteri. This element was something that was important to me in making the decision to join Williams.”