F1: Williams snap up Canadian billionaire's son Lance Stroll for 2017

    Story highlights

    • Lance Stroll signs for Williams F1 team
    • The 18-year-old is son of Canadian billionaire
    • Valtteri Bottas retained as lead driver for 2017

    (CNN)Move over Max Verstappen, there's a new kid on the grid -- and his Dad's a billionaire.

    Lance Stroll -- who turned 18 at the end of October -- will drive alongside Valtteri Bottas for the Williams Formula One team in 2017, it was announced Thursday.
      Just like Red Bull racer Verstappen, the Canadian teenager comes into F1 on a wave of hype and expectation.
      Stroll has racing pedigree, impressively winning the 2016 Formula 3 European Championship with 14 race wins and 14 pole positions.
      He was just 12 when he joined Ferrari's young driver academy before moving to a wider role in the Williams development program.
      Off track he also has another magic ingredient for wannabe racers -- the support of his father Lawrence Stroll, who made his money in fashion retail and according to Forbes is worth $2.4 billion.
      Stroll Sr. also collects vintage Ferraris and sparked his son's love of racing when he bought him a kart for his fifth birthday.
      "I've enjoyed success in karting, F4, Toyota Racing Series and most recently F3 -- winning every category I've competed in -- so I believe I have earned a shot in F1," said Stroll Jr.
      "To be racing in Formula One in 2017 is incredible, I can't thank Williams enough for showing faith in my ability. Racing in F1 was something I dreamed about as a young kid."
      Stroll is now eligible to join the F1 grid after reaching his 18th birthday and doing enough on track to qualify for a mandatory super license.
      The sport's governing body, the FIA, introduced a minimum age for F1 racers after Verstappen debuted at just 17 -- before he was old enough to drive a road car in his native Netherlands.
      Stroll replaces Felipe Massa at Williams -- the Brazilian announced he was ending his 15-year F1 career ahead of September's Italian Grand Prix.
      Williams has opted to stick with a blend of youth and experience as it retains Finn Bottas for a fifth season.
      "Williams is like my family, it really does feel like home here," added Bottas, who is still chasing an elusive race win in F1. "However, I still believe we haven't yet achieved what we should, and can do together.
      "It's going to be an exciting year with all the regulation changes for 2017 and a great opportunity for the team to get closer to the front."
      With McLaren driver Jenson Button taking a sabbatical from F1 at the end of 2016, the sport is beginning to see a changing of the guard.
      If Stroll is as exciting to watch as Verstappen, who won his first race at the Spanish Grand Prix in May, then more teen spirit could be exactly what the sport needs.