Lance Stroll entered Formula 1 as an 18-year-old after winning in every category he competed in during his junior formula career. He made his debut with Williams, with the team earning a generous compensation from Lawrence Stroll, Lance’s father. Lawrence Stroll is a Canadian billionaire whose net worth is estimated to be around $2.5 billion, and he has not been afraid to splash the cash on his son’s racing career.
In the middle of 2018, Lawrence bought the Force India team, renaming it Racing Point, and brought in Lance to fill in one of the seats for 2019. In 2021 the team will once again be rebranded, this time as Aston Martin Racing with Lance occupying one of the race seats alongside Sebastian Vettel.
RacingNews365 spoke exclusively with Lawrence Stroll and asked him: why exactly does Lance deserve the Aston Martin seat next to Sebastian Vettel?
"If you look at the performances he has achieved during his career, he became Formula 3 champion and broke every record then, but also if you look at his pole position in Turkey last year, in wet conditions. Everyone knows that the car (in wet conditions) is no longer decisive in such circumstances, but that it is completely in the hands of the driver."
According to Stroll senior, that pole position, in 2020 the only one of a driver who did not drive for Mercedes or Red Bull, says a lot about his son's ability.
"The fact that he managed to conquer pole position in Turkey speaks volumes. He was then in the lead for about thirty laps to about twenty seconds ahead of the rest. That speaks volumes, just like his two podium places in 2020."
The senior Stroll also touches on his son’s performance at Monza: "He could and maybe should have won in Monza, but he was on the dirty side of the track at the restart and that gave him a lot of wheelspin. But he still fought back to the podium."
While Lance did not win a race, something his ex-teammate Sergio Perez did at the Sakhir Grand Prix, the Canadian showed improvement in his driving from the previous year.
“To achieve what he achieved last season as a 22 year old driver, shows why he belongs in that seat. This is Aston Martin, it's a business and his track record justifies his presence in the sport. If he hadn't been my son, by the way, nobody would have questioned his performance."
Lawrence cites the races in which Lance had a bit of misfortune as further evidence to warrant a race seat.
“The simple facts of last season show it. He was in the top four of the standings until his tire collapsed in Mugello. If that had not happened, he probably would have been there too. He was on the podium. In Russia, Leclerc knocked him out of the race and a week later he was also knocked around (with Lando Norris in Portugal, ed.). In all those events he did nothing wrong."
While Lance could only manage 11th overall in the standings, the championship table only tells half the story, with the young Canadian showing flashes of brilliance across the season.
"If you take the whole season as a whole, it is very impressive to see what a driver who was not even 22 years old at that time has managed to do it."
Original interview by Dieter Rencken