Lance Stroll, Williams, Sepang International Circuit, 2017

Stroll has proved he deserves to be in F1 – Brawn

2017 F1 season

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Formula One’s managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn has come to the defence of Williams junior driver Lance Stroll.

The 18-year-old’s arrival in Formula One this year was met with scepticism owing to the extensive financial support provided by his billionaire father Lawrence. Stroll has made regular use of a test team running a 2014-specification Williams car.

However Brawn, who helped steer Benetton, Ferrari and Brawn GP to championship success during his time in Formula One, believes the time for questioning Stroll’s suitability for F1 has passed.

“Stroll finished in the points for the sixth time this season [in Malaysia], the third time in a row,” Brawn noted.

“The highlight of a strong race was winning a hard but fair duel with his Williams team mate Felipe Massa. There was a good deal of scepticism surrounding Lance when he made his Formula One debut, but I think the young Canadian has shown he deserves his place in this sport.”

However Brawn admitted the “downside” of Stroll’s weekend was a “really bizarre accident with Vettel on the slow-down lap after the race.”

“Honestly, I can’t recall, at least in recent times, when an incident of that kind last occurred,” said Brawn. Vettel blamed Stroll for the collision but both were cleared by the stewards.

Stroll scored his first career points at home in Canada, then took his first podium finish at the next race in Azerbaijan. He currently lies 12th in the championship on 32 points, one less than Massa.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 49 comments on “Stroll has proved he deserves to be in F1 – Brawn”

    1. Lovely new Canadian lakeside house you have there, mr. Brawn..

      1. @hahostolze
        👏 You are today’s winner of… The Internet!

        1. @hahostolze It seems you’re no stranger to conspiracy theories my friend but you have to careful what you read in the media these days. Mr Brawn is thoroughly respected by everyone in F1 from top to bottom and there is absolutely no way he would expose himself to such accusations to what advantage? A Canadian lakeside house? Think again..don’t be ridiculous.

          1. Clearly a remark in jest is lost on you

          2. @baron Don’t take yourself too seriously, my friend.

            1. @hahostolze @shimks, Ok, you got me. Hands up. But a “jest” surely has to contain an element of humour, not just be an unfounded suggestion of corruption on a public forum. No, i didn’t get the ‘joke’.

            2. Hi @baron! Unfortunately that is the devilishness of sarcasm – it is often not obvious at all. So we all have keep on our tip-toes! :)

    2. I must have missed that hard fair duel with Massa then. I was convinced Paddy Lowe had said they swapped them around.

      1. I further recall Massa had a problem with his car

        1. Yeah, odd comments by Brawn. One could rightfully applaud Stroll for raising his game since the summer break and being able to match or even outpace Massa. But the way he praises Stroll’s last race betrays either complete ignorance of the circumstances and events in that race, or ulterior motives.

          1. Stroll wasn’t even close on Qualyfing, almost the same gap of earlier this year. Massa car was damaged and he almost spin on the first lap and that compromissed his race, that’s all.

      2. Excuse Brawn, he probably didn’t watch the same race.

    3. “Honestly, I can’t recall, at least in recent times, when an incident of that kind last occurred,”

      The last proper crash on a non-competitive lap that I can remember was Schumacher and Albers in 2005.

      1. @neilosjames Grosjean crashed out in Brazil 2016 on his way to the grid. But yeah, Schumacher-Albers incident was probably the last time there was a collision on non-competitive lap.

    4. Honestly, I can’t recall, at least in recent times, when an incident of that kind last occurred

      Neither can I! Anyone else knows of a crash after the chequered flag?

      1. Does Brambilla in Austria 1975 count?

        1. Guess so, and interestingly, brambilla was another not famous good wet weather driver, he was leading by 30 sec in that race after a lot of overtakes and his next best result that I saw, 4th, was in belgium 1977, again when it rained.


        @paeschli I can’t think of one in F1, but here was a massive one in IndyCar

    5. The fair duel where Stroll was late on the brakes and went wide taking Massa with him and leaving the door wide open for Vandoorne to pass them both?
      Stroll gained no position from it and Massa lost two. Stroll aint no teamplayer thats for sure but theres little else to say about it that deserves to be in an F1 discussion..

      The postrace crash would make Maldonado proud.

    6. I agree with Brawn. Yeah, Stroll has had teething issues this season and may still prone to some stupid rookie mistakes, but with a podium and consecutive point finishes, he has earned his place on the grid.

      Many people disagree because they are irked by the fact that Stroll’s whole career (and the teams he has been in) have been bankrolled or financed by his father’s billions. Well yeah, money can get you places, but if wealth was the only factor that counts, then Alex Yoong, Pedro Paulo Diniz and Paolo Barilla should have been WDC.

      Before F1, Stroll won the F3 European Championship and the Italian Formula 4 and had a respectable junior career. It doesn’t matter how much money one spends, you have still to drive the car. Eau Rouge, Curva Parabolica, Wall of Champions… They don’t care if you are rich, if you are not good they will punish you.

      1. “Even grandma can learn to fly” … If you practice long enough, everyone can become a decent pilot. But no money in the world can buy you true fighter pilot wings. F1 isn’t a low cost airline, it is supposed to be Top Gun. Stroll is what makes F1 loose its credibility.

      2. Duncan Snowden
        4th October 2017, 20:37

        Well said. He actually reminds me a lot of Diniz, who started out as even more of a joke but by 1999 actually scored more points for Sauber than (the admittedly ageing) Jean Alesi.

        It bears repeating: it doesn’t matter how much money you have, you simply don’t get to drive in modern Formula 1 if you’re really no good at all. Those days are long gone. Are there better drivers out there without Stroll’s luck? Of course there are. But there are probably better drivers around than Vettel and Verstappen too who haven’t had their luck. Luck’s part of the equation; being in the right place at the right time, having the chance to give it a try at all, catching the eye of the team principals and sponsors, and, yes, having the cash yourself if you do.

        I’d bet he could drive rings around any of us.

        1. How many drivers have made it F1 thanks to their billionaire parents? Pedro Diniz comes to mind.

          I cant think of many others. Would Lance have made it as a racing driver if it wasnt for Papa Stroll? I doubt it. The majority of the new breed of driver from the millennial era, the majority ,funnily enough, are sons of former F1 or racing drivers. Yes they’ve had the influence and back channels for peddling their offspring, but they never had the kind of money Stroll Sr. has. Dan Ricciardo comes from a wealthy family here in Perth but Este Ocon was saying how his family lived out of trailer to fund his racing.

          The likes of Max, Dan, Carlos, KMag (yes), Stoff etc were all good enough get backing from F1 teams/manufacturers from a young age but Stroll rode on his family’s wealth. Thats no fault of his own, he came into an enabling situation and has made the best of it. So good on him.

          In summary, Lance Stroll would not have become an F1 driver if it wasn’t for his daddy’s money. Easy.

          1. Considering he won every series he raced in before, yes, I’m pretty sure he’d have been in f1 on merit, maybe not on williams, and in that case you have to see if you get a chance with a better team, look at wherlein, definitely decent but sauber is so bad that he can’t do anything and looks like he’ll be without seat next year.

    7. I think no one highlighted that fact that Stroll had many test runs between proper F1 rounds, I think with that mileage under his belt any comparison with other drivers become a little bit pointless.
      I think Brambilla counts but if I am not mistaken he didn’t crash into another car . He was so excited he won the race (actually half) that everybody overlooked it and from then it has become an hilarious and somehow heartwarming episode…

      1. I know that sometimes Villeneuve is not vary reliable but I think this time he had a point about the private testing. His opinion about the COTA test on 7/7/2017
        ‘Earlier this week, former Williams driver Jacques Villeneuve criticized his former team for organizing private tests in a 2014 car for Stroll, the son of Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll’.

        “It’s not fair to the other drivers because he is the only one to have this privilege thanks to his money,” said the 1997 world champion.

        1. Well well Jacques. Since when is F1 fair?
          It isn’t fair that some get the chance to start their rookie season in a championship winning car while others have to fight their way up from the back.
          It isn’t fair that some drivers have a F1 legend for a dad.
          It isn’t fair that some have no trouble securing sponsorship deals where others don’t, because of where they were born and luck or whatever.
          And that hair wasn’t fair either. Bleached all right, but not fair.
          Ah well ;)

          1. He was indycar champion against some great drivers. He did moves on the likes of Michael Schumacher that some of todays drivers couldn’t even do with DRS.

            I think Jacque is ok with what he says :)

        2. it’s a bit rich from villeneuve who had a ridiculous amount of testing time before he made his debut in 1996. admittedly he nearly won his first race and won a world title, but still.

          1. He had a ton of testing time when many other drivers had the opportunity as well, since testing was pretty much unlimited.

    8. If Ericsson, Wehrlein, Massa, Grossjean and Magnussen are in F1 then indeed you could say that Stroll deserves to be in F1.

      1. Don’t forget palmer and kvyat, both of which however might be on their last races, palmer on a course to show someone he can still race in f1, but kvyat has only done worse since demotion.

    9. I think Stroll came in F1 too soon

      I must admit I don’t watch junior classes but I can hardly imagine another scenario than Stroll must have had the best car in his wins.

      I was actually shocked seeing his handling of the car in the beginning of the season.

      Sure he’s the youngest rookie to score a podium. But that was because of everyone DNF in front of him.

      The 1st good thing I saw from him was qualy in Monza.

      But I bet Williams is happy with his father

      1. @anunaki

        I must admit I don’t watch junior classes but I can hardly imagine another scenario than Stroll must have had the best car in his wins.

        In F3 everyone has the same car & things like setup & engineering are heavily restricted to ensure nobody can get any significant advantage.

        Last year Lance was clearly the best driver in the FIA F3 series. He scored more poles, More podiums, Mores wins & more fastest laps than anyone else on his way to the title. He also did so through some dominant drives as well as some great races through the field, I think it was one of the Imola races where he had issues in qualifying & started last but came through the field to finish 2nd.

        1. Really? When Max was in F3 he had a lesser car than Ocon. VAR vs Prema

          1. Was technically the other way around as Ocon was running a 2012 spec car (Dallara F312) while Max was running the latest 2014 spec car (Dallara F314).

            And BTW the reason Max had the latest equipment from Dallara was because he was able to pay for it. His 2 team mates who didn’t have any backing were forced to run old 2012 spec cars.

        2. A lot of f3 teams left the same year stroll won. Why? Because, they said, there was an uneven playing field and they could not compete against the rich teams. Look it up if u don’t believe me.

    10. He has the conditions to stay and improve. Money, that is.
      I’m still to know of another driver that rents cars, tracks and crew just for “development” as he is doing. So it’s easier to improve. And being the main sponsor fof the team it’s easier to stay.

      Cuz he lacks some craft. Without all the backing, he would never be Williams’s choice in the first place. But he has it, so he stays until he can stay based on his skills, but he isn’t there yet.

    11. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      4th October 2017, 21:19

      I do think he came in a year too soon, but then I also thought Verstappen did. Stroll did not have a good start to the season, but since then, he’s either been decent or good. At times, very good indeed. clearly not as good as Verstappen’s first season, but I don’t know if he has made as many silly mistakes during the race as Verstappen did. He seems to have been more a careful driver and slowly is learning is better. Verstappen looked to make a few bigger mistakes, but did learn much faster. Maybe mistakes can help you learn even if they are a negative thing. Stroll really was very good in Baku. Plenty of drivers way more experienced than him made mistakes that weekend. He just kept it clean and it was the first time he’d raced there too. He’s also the only driver outside the top 3 teams to score a podium. And I think it is also pretty clear that Williams are not the 4th best team either. 5th at best. A bit of luck was helped to get that, but it was well deserved. Massa looked much better than him at the start of the season and still does most of the time, especially in qualifying. Massa missed out on many points scoring oppertinties this year though. He has quite possible lost out on well over 40 points. This does reflect that Massa still has on the whole been much better than Stroll. But Italy was a different story. That qualifying session was possibly Stroll’s most impressive point in the season. He was only around 3 tenths off Verstappen who many say is outstanding in the wet. And Stroll really did perform well there and as the Red Bull’s had penalties, it resulted in starting 2nd. Still great for him though. He could have done better in the race, but he just took it steady and kept out of trouble. He’s now getting to be a more solid driver. He may have had a better first season if he started next year, but with this experience he’s now had, I think he will be very reasonable next year if he gets to continue. I think it is a bonus that his family bring the money. he may be lucky to be here, but I think he’s proving he deserves to be. This money could well be helping Williams finally getting things right in terms of preparing for next years car.

      I don’t think many will agree, but I think Williams should stick with this line up. Stroll looks to be getting better and as I said, I’m sure the money will be helping the team. And I think Massa has looked a fair bit better this season than last year. In Baku, Massa looked to have the strongest point in several years. Very nearly getting past Vettel at a couple of restarts and looking like it could maybe have even been a potential win as he did look a lot quicker than Stroll. Williams now seem to be between Massa, Kubica or Di Resta. I think that although Di Resta is young, he wasn’t that impressive in F1 and the gap with no racing in F1 won’t be that helpful. I personally doubt he’d be better than Massa at this stage. Maybe in another couple of years though. Kubica? Well, although he was brilliant at the time, it has been simply ages since he was last in F1. So much has changed since then. I just think it would be too bigger risk. Massa now has been with Williams for nearly 4 years. He’s the most experienced driver on the grid and I’m sure he still gives very helpful feedback to the team. So out of the driver’s their considering, I think this will be the best pair.

      1. Stopped reading after the first few sentences. Surely you are joking? Verstappen looked to make bigger mistakes? Would you be so kind as to point those out? And those mistakes are bigger than Strolls? Did you forget him binning the car more than once at the start of the season? I’m not trying to rip on Stroll b.t.w., just don’t agree with your memory of events

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          5th October 2017, 21:42

          Read my wording. “I don’t know if he has made as many silly mistakes during the race as Verstappen did.”

          The race is what counts. If I am correct, one of Stroll’s mistakes was with Perez in China. He did retire, but he didn’t get any penalties. It was mainly his fault, but Perez looked to play a small part in it. I can’t remember any other time he’s made a big mistake in the race.

          Verstappen made a huge mistake in Monaco in his first season. Braked far too late and had an extremely heavy impact with the wall. He also rammed into Grosjean in the process, luckily not taking him out of the race too. But this was clearly more severe than what Stroll did as even though he took himself out, I think he got penalty points and a grid drop for the next race. Then in Britain, he took the wrong line on the track and took himself out of the race. No other drivers were involved.

          Stroll made many mistakes in practice and testing, but he seems to have learned from them and usually kept things more clean in the races. Comparing their first season with just the races, I think I can say exactly what I did. Verstappen made bigger mistakes. You’ve also got to look at the penalty points. Verstappen and Maldonado had 8 at the end of that year. Stroll is now one of only about 5 drivers on the grid that don’t have any.

    12. The grand, money-soaked pro-Stroll PR strategy knows no bounds. He’s Maldonado mk. II in everything but name.

    13. Last race Stroll were consistently 0.3s behind Massa, who is at least or at best an average driver nowadays. To say that he deserves to be in F1 he would need, at least, to be sometimes faster than his team mate, what I don’t see happening soon.

      1. 0.3s in reference to practice and qualyfing times, since Massa car was damaged in the race.

    14. F1 has proven that this is no longer a man’s sport as kids from the Playstation generation can drive the cars.

    15. The rain separates good from average drivers. I was impressed by Stroll in the rain.

      It should be mandatory for a COTD to have at least a podium under the rain. In which case
      Rosberg would have not made it to the top.

    16. Weeelll…. no.

    17. Modern neuroscience has the opinion that virtually anyone can become truly great at something if they undertake a substantial program of targeted practice. The key being a feedback loop between desired and achieved outcomes. So given that better practice will mean better performance it is not surprising that drivers with access to good coaching and practice opportunities throughout their motor racing careers tend to achieve greatness. So the grid is full of guys that have had lots more practice than you or I, so they are probably better f1 drivers than you or i. Opportunities to motor race are few and far between, Stroll has had those opportunities and has shown dedication to his practice. IMO he is good enough for the grid.

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