Once again the Formula 3 Championship looks to be the series to be in to make the jump to Formula One, with Lance Stroll the second driver to make the direct jump between the two.
Stroll, the son of billionaire Canadian businessman Lawrence Stoll could be one of the best prepared rookies in the history of Formula One. Thanks to funding from his father, made through the fashion industry – notably investing in Tommy Hilfiger amongst others, the teenager has been testing an old Williams car around the world during the second half of the 2016 season to prepare for his debut.
Only racing cars for three cars before entering the top flight of motorsport, he has shown promise from the beginning. Partnering with one of the strongest teams in the junior formulae, Prema, he first drove in the Italian Formula 4 series in 2014, a championship he won with 7 wins out of 18 races and a total of 13 podiums.
He took part in the winter based Toyota Racing Series, of which he won, to then make the jump to Formula 3 with Prema. At the time he was a Ferrari backed driver in 2015, although finishing fifth at the end of his first season with just one win after an erratic year switched to Williams in November.
2016 was a different story though, his campaign was both impressive and dominant, especially at the second half of the year. Fourteen race wins from thirty starts are extremely good statistics in any book, and have earned him the second seat at Williams.
How he will go in Formula One is at the moment a mystery. We haven’t seen him in a Free Practice session like other new drivers – Esteban Ocon or Charles Leclerc for example. His teammate is increasingly looking like Felipe Massa, which should be a good benchmark, and a wealth of experience to take him through his first season. Definitely one to watch this season.