Williams F1 2017 signing Lance Stroll dismisses pay-driver claims

Lance Stroll says he will not deny that he has "come from money" but he believes he got his chance with the Williams Formula 1 team based on performance

Williams F1 2017 signing Lance Stroll dismisses pay-driver claims

The 18-year-old Canadian will make his F1 debut with Williams next season, alongside Valtteri Bottas, to become the first Canadian driver to start a grand prix since Jacques Villeneuve.

Stroll arrives in F1 on the back of a dominant F3 campaign where he won 14 out of 30 races on his way to the championship.

Why Williams has backed the right horse

But he also brings with him financial backing, courtesy of his fashion billionaire father Lawrence who made his money through the Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors brands.

"Everyone has their own opinion and I can't change that," said Stroll, when asked to comment on suggestions he earned his seat through funding.

"I come from money, I'm not going to deny that.

"But I believe I earned my shot in F1 because I won every championship that I've competed in in single-seaters.

"Now the FIA have put in the superlicence [criteria] for that reason, so people can't buy their way into F1, and you have to prove yourself and win in junior categories.

"I don't know what else to say about that.

"I don't want to say when I'll be able to show I'm not just here because of money because that just depends on some many things falling into place.

"I'm just going to worry about my business and I'm very happy to be here and am looking forward to next season."

Deputy team principal Claire Williams insisted Stroll was signed on the basis of his talent rather than for financial considerations.

"I know there have been a lot of comments about Lance's background and I want to make it clear Williams has been a team that has made a statement of intent we would not allow financial considerations to influence our driver choice," she said.

"That has been the case this year.

"Money doesn't drive performance - you either have the talent or you don't.

"Lance has proved he has talent and has what done what he has done.

"He has to do the job next year, and he will do that, to dispel those rumours."

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