Lance Stroll, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018

Stroll set for Force India seat fitting next week ahead of possible Monza switch

2018 Belgian Grand Prix

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Lance Stroll could join Force India in time for next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, allowing Robert Kubica to make his long-awaited return to F1 with Williams, RaceFans has learned.

Stroll is believed to have scheduled a seat fitting at the Force India factory on Tuesday. The 19-year-old is expected to take the place of Esteban Ocon at the team which was purchased by a consortium led by his father Lawrence Stroll during the summer break.

Ocon is set to be left without a drive as Kubica’s contract with Williams is understood to give him precedence over other options for the seat if either of Williams’s regular drivers are unable to take part in a race.

Kubica made his last F1 start in 2010 before being seriously injured in a rally crash in February 2011. He was under consideration for a place at Williams this year before the team opted to sign Sergey Sirotkin.

Question marks remarks remain over whether Kubica’s recovery from his injuries will place any limits on his ability to perform over a full race distance. A return to action at Monza, one of the less strenuous venues on the calendar, would give the team an opportunity to assess his ability to race at more demanding venues, such as the following race in Singapore.

Force India did not provide a comment when approached by RaceFans.

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Robert Kubica, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018
Kubica is first in line to take Stroll’s place
Sergio Perez, who Stroll is expected to partner at Force India, said on Thursday the Williams driver has raised his game since arriving in F1 last year.

“I think it’s so hard to know someone as a driver when you are not being alongside him,” said Perez. “There is so much difference in Formula 1 across teams performance, between cars you see difference of two-and-a-half seconds or so. So it’s very hard to judge a driver.

“I think he did not too bad alongside Felipe [Massa] who I think is a very experienced driver. Right now Williams is in a very difficult position so it’s very hard to judge.

“I think he’s grown up, he has good experience now with two years at Williams, we’ll see what he’s able to do in that regard. It’s very hard to judge someone when they’re not your team mate.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 106 comments on “Stroll set for Force India seat fitting next week ahead of possible Monza switch”

    1. Shock. Feel for Ocon but at least he knows he’s not lost his seat because he wasn’t good enough. Hopefully he’ll be at Williams next year

      1. At least he hasn’t lost the Mercedes connection. I feel that’s important for him to keep him associated with the F1 paddock, even if he doesn’t get a seat for next year.

      2. It’s even worse after that qualifying performance

      3. Ocon 3rd on the grid at spa for his best qualifying, showing how much of a beating to their scoring potential will this new team get from replacing their fastest driver with a “daddy bought me a team” kid. Doing all he can to show Esteban really does deserve to be on the grid @strontium, @toiago

        If Jerome is really a keen businessman, and a sports fan, he should keep the current drivers.

        1. It seems as though he had one primary aim in mind when he bought the tram and that is to advance his son’s career. That it costs down so detrimentally on a young and exciting talent such as Icon whose career could be stalled by this is absolutely criminal. If Stroll Sr had the teams best interests in mind he would keep the driver line-up. Ok Williams hides some of Lance’s true talent but he sure ain’t seized opportunities when they’ve been available on track either. Gutted if this happens.

      4. Ocon to Williams is like a disciplinary action for a criminal. Fingers crossed another team boss seizes this opportunity to poach him from Mercedes before he becomes the next Wehrlein.

      5. It’s still not 100% sure. Force India was sold illegally. Administration had to sell it on auction, but they sold it privately in personal interests. So it’s now going to be settled in court.

    2. God I hate those pay drivers. I cannot believe we have reached a point that Ocon, a talented driver will lose his seat from an average one.

      1. “Average driver” is giving Stroll a lot of credit. But if this results in Kubica Lansing a racing seat, at least something positive came out of it

      2. Average??
        Your being to nice.. A bad driver with lots of bought experience.

        1. You are right. I am looking forward to seeing Perez beating Stroll at every race.

      3. Stroll is arguably the worst ever F1 pay-driver. If his daddy bought Ferrari and gave him Kimi’s car little Lance wouldn’t make Q2.

        1. You obviously havent heard of Jean Denis Deletraz.

          1. Ahah, read of him now on his wiki, pretty funny stuff!

        2. @greenflag

          Stroll is arguably the worst ever F1 pay-driver

          He’s never even been hit by the safety car so I’m not sure what prompted you to say that.

          Oh and he hasn’t done this

          1. Michael Brown (@)
            25th August 2018, 23:52

            He’s not Chanoch Nissany either

          2. That’s why I used the word “arguably”. He’s an embarrassment to F1. Pay drivers have to find and secure money from hard-nosed investors and backers, which takes initiative and persistence. Lance just had to ask daddy.

            1. Michael Brown (@)
              26th August 2018, 2:37

              @greenflag I see what you mean.

    3. Disgusting! Feel gutted for Ocon, Stroll should now be the most unliked driver since Piquet Jr.

      The only positive coming out of this is Kubica possibly getting to drive for Williams.

    4. Idealy Force India would want to take the maximum amount of points for the rest of the season so as to finish 6-7th probably, the same position they were before.. but they say “screw it, we got this, we are going to do it the hard way this time.. with only one driver scoring instead of two”

      1. I suppose stroll should be able to get some points considering he got 8th in baku with williams, on a much better car?

        But agree, terrible decision if they aim to recover a decent constructors position.

    5. As much as I’ll be happy for Robert to make his amazing come back to racing, I’m very dissatisfied with the fact that it’s gonna be in Formula 1’s slowest car.

    6. Ocon please join Haas next to KMag

      1. The chance of a Mercedes junior driver joining a Ferrari B team is as high as Williams winning this year’s championship.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          26th August 2018, 2:38

          How about this: Ericsson to Haas, replacing Grosjean. Ocon can take the open Sauber seat alongside Leclerc.

    7. In this situation he’s not bringing money, he’s bringing his own racing team.

    8. It’s quite painful to hear Otmar Szafnauer recite the very worst of jaded Stroll fans’ comment section contributions. “Remember that one qualifying in Monza last year, when he beat Felipe Massa, who was a world champion for, like, half a minute? That’s how good he is.”
      That’s the sound of dignity leaving the building.

      Wouldn’t wanna be in his situation, though. We all know Stroll doesn’t compare to Pérez or Ocon even on a good day, but now that daddy Stroll owns the whole thing, they have to embellish the affluent junior’s achievements, no matter what they think.

      1. I’m not sure why people suddenly get so over the top upset.
        IMO Ocon has more talent and is a better driver than Stroll.
        But Ocon is better than Perez as well; why does nobody get upset that Ocon is leaving instead of Perez.
        Even Ferrari is not putting the best available driver in its second seat.
        Or Ericsson? That Sauber is a very good car; why aren’t we shouting louder that there should be a better driver instead of him.
        Or Grosjean in one of the Haases (or whatever the plural is), he is well below par this year (again).

        It’s up to the team who they offer the ride. If Stroll wants Stroll then so be it.

        1. I agree it should be Perez losing the seat. Ocon and Stroll would be a better team.

          1. But crucially a much worse team than Ocon & Pérez are.

        2. @coldfly
          Why do I feel like I somehow got into a shadow boxing match?

          why does nobody get upset that Ocon is leaving instead of Perez.

          Where do you get that idea? Replacing either FI (or RPFI) driver with Stroll is a disgusting joke, based on nothing else than daddy Stroll’s money. Whom he replaces, is secondary.

          Even Ferrari is not putting the best available driver in its second seat.

          I’ve been saying for years that Räikkönen has absolutely no business at Ferrari and should not’ve been hired again in 2014. So, what are you trying to say?

          Or Ericsson? That Sauber is a very good car; why aren’t we shouting louder that there should be a better driver instead of him.

          Same here. He’s there, because money. I’ve been highly critical of his ever since he landed a seat at Caterham in 2014, so, what exactly are you trying to say?

          As for the rest:

          Ocon is better than Perez as well

          I wouldn’t say that’s a done deal. Ocon’s younger and steadily improving, but it’s not like he has the upper hand all of the time. They’re relatively evenly matched, so ditching Pérez because of Stroll’s money would be just as farcical as ditching Ocon, imo.

          Or Grosjean in one of the Haases (or whatever the plural is), he is well below par this year (again).

          This year, yes. But he isn’t there because he brings so much money, or because his daddy owns the team. He’s there because Haas wanted him, and because they were happy with the job he did in 2016 and 2017. He’s underperforming so far in 2018, which is why Haas might replace him for the next season. But he’s also put in a couple of very good performances as of late, and he’s managed to out-qualify both Red Bulls today. So, Haas may decide to extend his contract for sporting reasons, if he keeps performing on that level.

          It’s up to the team who they offer the ride. If Stroll wants Stroll then so be it.

          That’s a terrible attitude. It’s true, of course, but by that logic, we could stop watching and commenting on F1 altogether. Just because there are reasons why things happen, doesn’t mean that criticism of these reasons is unjustified.

          1. You do know Perez is a pay driver as well, right?

            1. I don’t know you, but I already don’t like you.
              Pérez is a highly competent F1 driver, who has proven competitive throughout his career so far.
              However, like virtually every driver outside the top 3 teams, the contributions of his sponsors to his team’s finances appear to exceed the salary his team pays (or owes) him.
              The same is likely true in Ocon’s case, though probably harder to quantify, as he’s backed by Mercedes, whose contributions to Force India’s financial situation appear in more than one ledger.

              The only thing that tells us is that the term ‘pay driver’ is an outdated, narrow concept for narrow minds. Pérez`s a pay driver, Ocon’s a pay driver, Leclerc’s a pay driver, and the list goes on.
              The crucial difference is that someone like Pérez has a solid reputation that makes him a candidate for many teams, while someone like Stroll needs a team in dire financial need to become dependent of his backers. He wouldn’t have landed a seat otherwise, or at least not have been preferred over Massa, who beat him squarely, and preferred over Sirotkin and Ocon by Force India.

            2. there are very few drivers who aren’t paid. you ca argue hamilton is a pay driver simply because of his ambassador role aND brand that he has to attract so sore

        3. It’s because throughout Lance’s entire ‘engineered’ career, he’s never been placed next to a team mate that can comprehensively trounce him.

          It’s clear that when deciding between Perez and Ocon, they looked at a) the money and b) which one is less harmful to Stroll’s image.

          1. @optimaximal

            It’s because throughout Lance’s entire ‘engineered’ career, he’s never been placed next to a team mate that can comprehensively trounce him.

            Massa did comprehensively trounce him in 2017. They probably weren’t expecting him to, but that’s what happened.

            1. Michael Brown (@)
              25th August 2018, 23:55

              Referring to his career before F1

          2. @optimaximal Inconvenient then that Perez is beating Ocon this year and did last year as well…

        4. Michael Brown (@)
          25th August 2018, 23:57

          I’m pretty sure people always get upset when pay drivers get promoted

    9. Never thought I’d have such mixed emotions when hearing Kubica might be racing, but that’s only because Ocon’s losing his race seat, for no fault of his own, and unrelated to his driving performance.

      Here’s hoping Perez wipes the floor with Stroll at Monza.

    10. If this happens then shame for Ocon.

      1. If this happens then SHAME ON FORMULA 1!!!!

    11. good for lance, will finally get to show how good he is capable of been in a decent car.

      he was quick in the lower categories, winning many races & championships against some good competition so i do not feel the hate he has aimed at him from some f1 fans is necisarily justified.

      let us see how he goes in a good car now.

      1. This is criminal! One of the best young talents on the grid substitutes for a driver of mediocre talent. Who only won in lower formula because of Daddies Money, many other drivers avoided competing against Stroll for that reason, Daddy just buys him success. He was totally outclassed by Massa, who was beaten by Bottas.

        I expect we will see qualifying gaps in excess of 0.5sec week in week out, although whoever is in the other Force India seat will not be getting upgrades first or competing on a level playing field, Daddies money has seen to that for all of Lance’s career so far.

      2. Good for him sure, but Lance has not deserved this.

        He wasn’t beating a pretty slow driver in Massa (who simply hasn’t been quick post HUN 2009) and he isn’t really beating Sirotkin either, who isn’t regarded as a great talent and is a pay driver himself. Lance got the best material in the lower formulea thanks to his dad, he got into F1 thanks to his dad and now he got a promotion thanks to his dad. I’m pretty sick of this kid tbh.

        1. Money talks and talent gets shown the door …
          Very sad really …

      3. What I load of bull if he was that good daddy would not have to pay his way. Skill would get him a seat

      4. He’ll just make the car slower lol. He needs a Ferrari to be in the midfield.

    12. The timing of this announcement couldn’t be more awful.

    13. So… The man who has just qualified a FI 3rd in tricky conditions in SPA will not be on the grid next race… I’m speachless

      1. ..and the guy who’s getting his seat probably wouldn’t finish top ten in Indy Car racing.

        1. You say that like indycar is easy or something, if he’s not top 10 material in f1, he is not top 10 material in indycar. Show some respect for world motorsport.

          1. Ehm if the top 10 drivers in indycar was top 10 material for F1 they would be in F1, especially since a handfull of them already tried F1 and got rejected.

      2. I wonder if Otmar will also praise Ocon’s ability in the wet like he did yesterday regarding Lance…

    14. Ocon is still a possibility for McLaren or even Williams for next year. Depending on Kubicas real performance.

      1. As annoyed I am that stroll is replacing ocon (I would be even if he were replacing perez), I’m happy kubica gets a chance to drive in f1 again, he deserves that, then ofc it’s not like he can show much with a williams, we’ll see what kind of driver he is atm based on how he compares with sirotkin, to still be a good driver like he was he needs several tenths of margin over him I think, at least after a few races.

    15. Especially after today’s qualy, its a shame to see Ocon go… Just that :/

    16. Williams should sign Alonso for 2019

      1. They offered.
        He filed it next to RBR offer ;)

      2. Would be the ONE team that would be a downgrade for sure over mclaren!

    17. Would LOVE to see Kubica bamboozle Stroll in his own seat in a few races time and show him up as the talentless, spoiled little child that he is.

      The Strolls are a disgusting disgrace to Formula One and a reminder of the bad old days of pay drivers like Deletraz and Lavaggi.

      To paraphrase Peter Watts infamous phrase about Nigel Mansell, Lance Stroll will never win a Grand Prix as long as I have a hole at the end of my colon.

      1. To paraphrase Peter Watts infamous phrase about Nigel Mansell, Lance Stroll will never win a Grand Prix as long as I have a hole at the end of my colon.

        which aged spectacularly well (out of all things to quote).

    18. Kubica won’t have to be judged over a full race distance – in this year’s Williams he’ll get lapped at least once…

      1. @bullfrog I laughed a bit, but I don’t know if I should have…

      2. Yes, it’s all about the comparison with sirotkin, this williams unfortunately won’t provide opportunities to show his talent and move up to better teams, but we’ll know how he compares to the same kubica because sirotkin is similar to stroll who was 7 tenths slower than massa who was similar to kubica at his prime, so he has to beat sirotkin by several tenths!

        1. to the old kubica*

    19. I for one look forwards to Lance driving a Force India car and I pray it happens this season.
      I want to see just how much the Williams has been holding him back.
      This is the best thing that could happen to a paying driver – lets give him a good seat and see what he is really worth.

    20. I would rather see Ocon in the Williams than Kubica to be honest. I hope that Perez doesn’t get totally shafted by favouritism towards Lance.

    21. 1 – Lance Stroll:- this is make or break, we will now really see his confirmed pace.
      2 – time for Williams to suck it up as a Mercedes B team to ensure survival/some competitiveness and slot Ocon in next year.
      3 – good luck Robert, these next few GPs could be your last even if you do well – ENJOY.

      1. @warfieldf1 – as I recall, Williams didn’t want to go down the route of a Mercedes B-team, as they have automotive business offerings, and that would be impacted (in reality, as well as perception) by allying with Mercedes for customer parts instead of doing it themselves. That’s part of the reason why Stroll also intends to pull his funding and put it towards FI, which has no such challenges.

        That said, it would be interesting if Williams do decide to go down the route you mentioned, a decision that might be motivated by the loss of the Stroll and Martini funding.

        1. Its quite obvious Lawrence Stroll won’t be putting any further money into Williams for next year. They could possibly even change engine supplier at Force India to Ferrari as I don’t think Mercedes will be too pleased with them dropping Ocon.

        2. the loss of the Stroll and Martini funding

          Those are two huge blows for Williams. Hopefully they have some sort of plan already in place for next year, otherwise their situation is about to get even worse.

      2. This is no make or break for Stroll. He’ll have a seat in Formula 1 as long as his daddy wants him. He’s just a waste of a good seat.

    22. I’m kinda pleased to see Kubica possibly returning but at the expense of Ocon is criminal.

      This entire thing just feels wrong – the idea that Stroll’s in F1 largely because of his dad’s money, and now is moving up the grid at the expense of another far more promising talent’s career is just gross.

      A dream would be to see both Perez and Kubica (in Stroll’s old car) wipe the floor with $troll.

      1. I’d love to see Kubica bamboozle Stroll with a well-judged non DRS tactical overtake in his own car before the season is out …

    23. I’ve been reading that Ocon is heading to mclaren, maybe at monza. So stroll to FI, Ocon to Mclaren, Kubica to Williams and Vandoorne out.

      1. you’ve been fantasizing. if anyone is going to get that McLaren seat this year in place of stoffel it’s norris.

    24. From the high of that exciting qualifying session to… this.

      Love you, F1. Never a neutral moment.

    25. Well good, very bad news for Ocon if it is confirmed. He is one of the best young drivers and deserves a place in the grid.
      On the other hand, although I do not like “pay drivers” (although there were from the birth of formula 1) Stroll is not to blame for being the son of his dad millionaire. Any other young man in his place would do exactly the same thing, if he liked car racing, including Ocon.
      I think we have to wait to see what happens next year in a full season with a good car to judge him definitely as a driver.

    26. I would rather see Ocon in the Mclaren than in Williams from next race.

    27. I would rather see Ocon in the Mclaren than in the Williams from next race.

      1. If today sets the tone for the rest of the year, then I’d say you’d rather have an orange car than a white one. Because other than car colour, I couldn’t tell the difference between the two teams.

        1. McLaren won’t be dropping Vandoorne mid season they’ve stated it clearly. I’m afraid Ocon will have to watch the rest of the season from the couch like the rest of us. As for next year Williams is the only realistic option given that he’s a Mercedes driver and Williams relies on Mercedes for their engines. Plus if McLaren want to put a young driver in place of Vandoorne they’ve got Lando Norris waiting.

    28. A regular ‘child car seat’ does not fit? :P

    29. Silly for Stroll senior to lose one of his talented drivers in a team that has done well in F1 to give his son a seat.

      Perez as good as he is will never get the upgrades first or at all for that matter.
      Stroll Senior would love to see his son as the better driver.

      Probably best that Ocon will go to a team that will give him the upgrades at the same time as his teammate.

    30. Nice, Stroll will be placed even higher on the driver rankings this year then.

    31. Formula One has jumped the shark.

      1. Gerulf Dösinger (@)
        25th August 2018, 18:28

        Well said. Unfortunately.

    32. Harsh but that’s F1. People need to get a sense of perspective and realise that, even if Stroll isn’t the most deserving of that seat, it’s a necessary sacrifice to keep a great team on the grid. The pro of FI remaining far outweighs the con of Stroll getting the seat. And to be honest I’d rather see Ocon go than Perez as I rate Perez a tiny bit higher, and also he maybe wouldn’t get another seat, which would be a travesty. Ocon, with youth and Mercedes on his side, will. Haas, McLaren or Williams if Kubica doesn’t impress – I’d prefer to see him at Haas as Vandoorne deserves another chance and Grosjean probably doesn’t. I really don’t think this is the disaster people are making it out to be.

      1. Ocon is already as good as Perez and he is much much younger. It’s ridiculous to suggest Perez is a better choice.

        This whole thing is making me feel disgusted with and not care about Formula 1.

    33. Bittersweet for Kubica, who finally gets his second chance but in arguably the worst car on the grid

      1. Not even arguably at this point, the clear worst car on the grid, although mclaren is getting worse, which I don’t understand: they have a renault engine, not a 2017 honda, if their engine is not at the level of the best 2 but not too bad as they say renault is improving, why are they at the bottom in power tracks, and why are they on a downward trend this year?

    34. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      25th August 2018, 19:41

      Stroll Sr should have waited until next year to put that kid in the car. It’s a total farce that Ocon is out of that car and the pressure Stroll will be under will be huge.
      I was obviously a Stroll fan given he’s a fellow countryman but will now smile every time Pérez whoops his ass.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        26th August 2018, 0:03

        @canadianjosh Same here. I wanted a Canadian driver – and maybe even a Canadian team – but not like this at all.

    35. One can’t be surprised that this has happened. Presumably Laurence Stroll has had pay Williams for the early termination of Lance’s contract, had to pay Esteban for the early termination of his contract too, and appease the other shareholders. Presumably Esteban will get the job as the reserve driver at Williams. If so then Williams will be wanting to see how their car performs with him at the wheel, because he will get results from it that Lance couldn’t. Maybe, and this is a big “maybe”, their car isn’t as bad as everyone thinks. So I would expect to see him do at least one Final Practice session, and if he drags that car around Monza faster than Robert can, then there’s going to be a riot if he doesn’t get the seat. If I was him I’d rush around to Williams for a seat fitting.
      While Robert does have seniority over Esteban, I’m sure somewhere in the fine print will be a clause that allows Williams to override that, and if someone decides to pay Williams more than Robert’s sponsors then it will happen. Also, we don’t know how capable Robert is driving over a race distance. Williams will also have a clause in his contract that allows them to override his seniority on grounds of medical advice, and if his body can’t take the stress then it won’t be long before Esteban gets the seat.

    36. So sad.
      But wait, Lance Strulovitch does not take Ocon’s place. That place would not be there if Lawrence Strulovitch wouldn’t have saved the team. And Perez would have lost his drive too.
      Plus the 400 team members of Racing Point Force India (blech) that would have lost their jobs, and F1 as a whole reduced to 18 cars… Aren’t we thankful for that?

      Hah, somebody else would have saved them?
      True. Apparently Dmitry Mazepin was willing to spend UralChem and UralKali rubles to kindly help them out.
      Now much bad can be said about Lance, but he’s arguably a better driver than Nikita Mazepin, and afaik Lance has never beaten a competitor up.
      Lawrence Strulovitch saved us from that. Surely we should be thankful?

      Like it or not, racing is the playground of the rich.
      Formula 1 is about the only racing class where some talented drivers can actually make an income even counting out sponsorship deals. In all the lower categories only money gets you wheels.
      If we want change, we should start there.
      And find someone to pay for it…

      1. Strolls’ weren’t the only offer. The team would still be there…

    37. Michael Brown (@)
      26th August 2018, 0:00

      Murray Walker: “Anything can happen in Formula One, and it usually does.”
      Even awful stuff like this.

    38. Well if Ocon was a Verstappen will have a drive and a multimillion contract by now, if had gotten pole then that will be something but been. 0.05 faster than your teammate cause the right timing on tires of all drivers won’t cut it for me.

    39. I don’t wanna watch Formula 1 anymore if a top talent like Ocon is booted from a decent drive for a pay driver whose father bought a team for him!!!

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