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Canadian teenager Lance Stroll signed to Williams driver academy

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Williams has signed Canadian teenager Lance Stroll to its young driver development programme.

Seventeen-year-old Stroll, who was formerly part of the Ferrari driver academy, currently competes in Formula 3, where he won a race this season at Hockenheim. At the start of the year he won the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand.

Stroll joins Williams in a similar capacity to that of Valtteri Bottas when the Finn was appointed development driver in 2011. He will carry out a varied programme in 2016, including extensive simulator work, and will combine his Williams duties with another season of F3.

"I'm really honoured to be part of such a great team and one with so much history and success," Stroll said. "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.

"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 [Bottas]. This element was something that was important to me in making the decision to join Williams.

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."

Canada has not had a driver in Formula One since 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who left the sport during the 2006 season while at BMW Sauber.