Lance Stroll: '2017 good time to make Williams debut'

Lance Stroll says that he thinks 2017 is a "good time" for him to make his F1 debut.

Lance Stroll has said that he thinks 2017 is a "good time" for him to make his F1 debut.

Still 17, the French Canadian and European F3 championship leader is the favourite to become Valtteri Bottas's new teammate at Williams for 2017.

"It is a fact that I'm going to have a new teammate next year," Finn Bottas, still not officially confirmed for 2017, said.

Stroll has leapt into contention after serving in a Williams development driver role, having switched from Ferrari's respective junior programme.

"Ferrari did a great job for me, but Williams gave me the opportunity to be closer to F1," Stroll told French magazine Auto Hebdo.

However, Stroll has been labelled a 'pay driver' by some sections of the press, including 1997 world champion, fellow French Canadian and F1 pundit Jacques Villeneuve.

Stroll, whose father is the fashion billionaire Lawrence Stroll, answered: "I really don't want to go into these controversies. I need all my energy to reach my goals.

"Jacques can think what he likes, but I think it's a shame if all people see is money."

Asked if he feels ready at the age of 17 to be announced as an F1 driver, Stroll answered yes.

"With the introduction of the new regulations, I think it would be a good time to start, because everyone will be discovering at the same time," said Stroll.

"Also, if the gap between GP2 and F1 only widens further, it's best to get in sooner rather than later."

The 2016 championship continues this weekend in Singapore.

Felipe Massa of Brazil and Williams is interviewed in the paddock during previews to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 13, 2014
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