After weeks of speculation, Lance Stroll has finally been confirmed as the second driver for Force India alongside Sergio Perez for the 2019 Formula 1 season. The Canadian joins following his father, Lawrence, initiating a financial takeover of the team to save them from administration.
The grid for the 2019 campaign is already looking significantly different to the current edition, with the majority of the constructor teams having at least one driver change, with the major exception being Mercedes who have retained Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Since Lawrence Stroll's takeover of Force India, speculation would be that he would be bringing Lance from Williams, and the deal was announced on Friday after the driver had took part in testing in Abu Dhabi.
Stroll is relishing the challenge of joining a new, more competitive team.
“This is the beginning of an incredibly exciting journey in my Formula One career," he told Force India's website.
"I look forward to working alongside a successful team with a great culture. It’s a new challenge and I am excited to embrace this new opportunity!”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO of Racing Point Force India, expressed his satisfaction at finally getting the deal done, and reckons Stroll has the potential to be a top driver after impressive from a young age.
“I’m pleased that we can finally confirm Lance’s arrival to race alongside Sergio [Perez] next year," he said.
"It gives us an exciting line-up with the perfect blend of youth, talent, and experience. Lance is only twenty and already has two years of Formula One experience under his belt, as well as a podium finish and a front row start. We see huge potential in Lance and believe we can create an environment in which he can flourish.
"Our team has enjoyed great success nurturing and developing young and talented drivers, and we are very excited to begin our journey with Lance. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Esteban Ocon for his contribution to the team over the last two seasons and wish him well for the future.”
Stroll will join Force India at the expense of Esteban Ocon, who has had to give up his seat and join Mercedes as their reserve driver for 2019.