Jacques Villeneuve insists it is not fair to compare Lance Stroll with other F1 ‘pay drivers’ like Pastor Maldonado.
Reportedly after his father and Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll spent an amazing $80 million on the 18-year-old’s career to date, Lance will make his debut next year for Williams.
Asked if Williams’ choice was surprising, former team driver Villeneuve told www.Minute-Auto.fr: “I don’t know.
“He arrives with a huge budget and Williams needs it, but also with the F3 title and, on paper, a huge talent. It’s not like Pastor Maldonado!” he insisted.
Still, Villeneuve expects Stroll to have a tougher introduction to F1 than did the similarly young Max Verstappen, and not just because the 2017 cars will be faster.
“Yes, but we must not forget that Verstappen arrived with Red Bull and could afford to push. Especially as he has been somewhat protected by the authorities, as we see with the lack of penalties he’s had.
“But Stroll comes with financial security, so he can afford to take his time and learn well,” Villeneuve added.
Also with a significant budget and well-known father, Renault has confirmed that Jolyon Palmer will stay with the French works team next year.
The news reinforces reports that the Briton’s 2016 teammate, Kevin Magnussen, is heading to Haas on a multi-year deal.
“We thank Kevin Magnussen for his efforts in 2016 as he has done a great job for us this year,” said Renault F1 chairman Jerome Stoll. “We wish him all the best for 2017 and beyond.”