Esteban Ocon, Stoffel Vandoorne, Robert Kubica, Marcus Ericsson

Stroll’s Force India switch to trigger moves for Ocon, Vandoorne, Kubica and Ericsson

2018 Belgian Grand Prix

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Lance Stroll’s widely-expected move to Force India could lead to four Formula 1 seats changing hands as early as the next race at Monza, RaceFans has learned.

By displacing Ocon at Force India, Stroll could set in motion a chain of moves which will see Esteban Ocon and Stoffel Vandoorne change teams, Robert Kubica return to F1 and Marcus Ericsson left without a drive.

When asked by RaceFans, Stroll did not deny reports he will have a seat fitting at Force India next week. Ocon gave a similar response when asked about rumours he has already visited McLaren for the same reason.

During a McLaren media conference today, sporting director Gil de Ferran passed up three opportunities to deny Ocon has already been measured to see if the MCL33 can accommodate the tallest driver on the grid.

Ocon is therefore expected to be McLaren-bound in the event that Stroll pushes him out of Force India. He will replace Stoffel Vandoorne at McLaren, who is believed to be heading to Sauber.

De Ferran told media Vandoorne will “be in the car for the rest of the year” but added the caveat “at present we have no other plans”.

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However Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur is understood to have leapt at the opportunity to hire Vandoorne, who drove for his GP2 team ART. Vasseur and Vandoorne’s manager Alessandro Alunni Bravi, who is a director at Sauber, have persuaded the team’s co-owner Finn Rausing to hire Vandoorne as a replacement for Marcus Ericsson, who has fallen short of rookie team mate Charles Leclerc this season.

Vandoorne declined to comment on whether he had spoken to Sauber when asked by RaceFans.

As RaceFans reported earlier today, Stroll’s place at Williams would be taken by Robert Kubica, who would make his return to F1 after eight years out of the cockpit.

Stroll will join Sergio Perez at Force India. The Mexican driver’s 2019 contract extension at the team is now believed to be a formality.

During a media session today he described how he advised the team’s new owners that “probably the start of next year should be the target to try to be on a much higher level.” Asked whether that meant he had already signed his option to remain at the team next year, Perez said: “For me I already know what I am doing next year but I cannot communicate it yet. It’s signed.”

The net effect of Stroll’s move to Force India will therefore be that Formula 1 loses Ericsson at the expense of Kubica returning, and three drivers switching teams.

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162 comments on “Stroll’s Force India switch to trigger moves for Ocon, Vandoorne, Kubica and Ericsson”

  1. Anybody else warming up to Stroll after this news? Hopefully Force India will become stable soon and let Stroll go his way to Formula-E ASAP.

    It takes one unstoppable force (Stroll) to move an Immovable Object (Ericsson).

    1. That’s one of the best things that could happen in F1 right now.
      Stroll will get smashed by Perez and everyone will see that he doesn’t belong to F1.
      Vandoorne will get a great chance to drive a faster car and make his name again.
      Kubica will have the chance that he wanted after a long wait.

      It’s only bad for Ocon, but if you look at the good side, Alonso can be a good team mate to have for some races, he can learn something good from him. And he’s a proven driver, he doesn’t need a fast car to show how good he’s now.

      1. True, and ericsson out of f1 would be great, he’s not dreadful but clearly not worthy of a f1 seat with the drivers around nowadays.

      2. @miani Indeed. Basically a good move all around.

        Exciting stuff..

    2. If Lance’s move forces a talented deserving driver out of F1 l will turn off the TV..Lance is a useless as Pope’s testes behind a F1 car.
      Thank God his dad cannot buy Merc Ferrari or RB…these rich brats are a blight on the sport!! Surely the FIA has to inforce more power over these garbage drivers.

    3. That is disrespectful to formula e. I think nascar suits stroll.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        26th August 2018, 11:24

        That’s disrespectful to Nascar. I think spectating suits stroll.

        1. Paying for Ferrari track days would rather suit him too @petebaldwin

    4. I’m sure he would get beat hands down in FE too..

      1. The fact that Lance Stroll might be getting a seat ahead of Esteban Ocon is sickening.

  2. Unfortunately for Ocon, out of F1 or in a seat at McLaren add up to about the same thing at the moment.

    1. Driving next to, and bring compared to, Alonso will be worth it.
      Overall I’m very happy with this. Not a Stroll Jr fan, but his ‘sponsor’ saved a great team and 399 jobs.

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        25th August 2018, 22:29

        399 jobs

        Perfect. :D

    2. I’d hate to see Ocon out until ’19, but I expect a better than expected performance from Renault next year with a Ricciardo / Ocon pairing. I like to think Cyril showed Danny something at the factory that got him to jump.

      Leclerc and Vandoorne would be an interesting pairing at Sauber.

      Clearly Perez will expose Stroll, for better or for worse, at RPFI.

      Considering what he’s been through in his career, I’m hoping Grosjean will get his mojo back this season, I’d prefer to see him get back on terms with Magnussen than be shown the door.

      And even if it is only for the balance of ’19, seeing Kubica back in a race seat will be a great story for an otherwise dismal situation at Williams.

      1. Ryan Fairweather
        26th August 2018, 9:06

        Hulkenberg isn’t leaving Renault. You can’t have an Ocon Riccardo pairing without them terminating his contract.

      2. Ricciardo and Ocon and Renault next year? Did I miss something? What about Hülkenberg?

      3. I don’t think Hulkenberg deserves to be replaced by Ocon. I feel both are of same calibre. But it would be a disaster of sorts for other young drivers to see Ocon seatless in 2019. Thanks to Stroll who in my opinion is the least deserving candidate just to be on the grid today, let alone in Force India car!

    3. Ocon will destroy Alonso. Alonso is too old to fight with young guys.

      1. You are dreaming man :) Not gonna happen.

    4. @johnnik

      I don’t see why McLaren would go swap Ocon and Vandoorme mid season. Vandoorme hasn’t been dreadful.

      There are real equestions over a few seats. LeClerc could get promoted from Sauber, and Kubica could fall short at Williams.

      Williams isn’t a good drive. Sauber seems unlikely since they would favor a young Ferrari driver.
      But would moves by LeClerc and Kubica open up a better seat indirectly?

      Unless that happens it does look unfortunate for Ocon. To bad, he’s too good to just get shuffled out or stuck at a back marker.

  3. If this scenario happens then I feel a bit for Ericsson, he had a decent showing today. Good opportunity to find out whether Kubica still have some speed left. I would be surprised if he beats Sirotkin for the remainder of the year.

    1. I sort of feel the same. Although Ericsson isn’t particularly great, it’s a bit unfair that he should lose out because of this when it’s got nothing to do with him. To be fair though if somebody has to go, it’s better him than Ocon.

      1. @strontium depends how you look at it. He was offered a chance twice over Nasr and then over Werlhein, and both of them had the measure over Marcus. So it was bound to happen one day that he’d be on the receiving end.

    2. I am pretty sure that Kubica will be much faster than SIR from The first race.

      1. I hope as well, but strongly doubt it; at least I don’t think he will be much better initially.
        I hope though that he will improve and earn a seat for next year.

      2. If Williams had thought that to be a possibility he’d be in the seat. Anyway, I like Sirotkin, he keeps his head down and seems to have an edge on Stroll. Look forward to seeing how Kubica does though, I’d like both him and Sirotkin to get another year.

    3. To be honest, I am not sure if Kubica’s comeback is a good idea. A driver, who should definitely have become a multiple race winner and maybe a world champion fighting for the 17th place or so? That is going to be painful to watch.

      1. Sitting out is a better option? To preserve his dignity?

      2. I do not think it is a matter of dignity – I doubt anyone will call Kubica a bad driver or blame him for poor results even if he performs worse than Sirotkin. We all know what happened. The sad thing is you cannot recreate 2010 today. Kubica is not the same driver as he was back then and the car is just miserable. So I think it will be a bit like looking at Schumacher in 2010-12, only worse. Maybe sitting out would indeed be the better option.

        1. @girts that’s been my opinion pretty much all along, hence why I’ve never bought into the Kubica return hype. He’s been out of racing for longer than he was even competing in F1, and now he’s got a permanent injury which will always be a disadvantage against his competitors regardless of how it’s managed. We all want to see it but there’s no possibility he will be the same as in 2010

          1. It works for Williams, they will know by the end of the year if Kubica still has the race and qualifying pace without committing a full season to find out. If he does then a Kubica + Russell combination could be interesting for 2019.

        2. @girts While I do understand where you are coming from, I am also trying to see this from Kubica’s point of view, so I don’t think sitting out would be the best option. I am sure he is under no illusion that the circumstances are massively different from when he last drove in F1, and that he knows that it is a huge risk to jump into a bad car mid-season. But from a resilience and personal conquer perspective (for lack of better words) it will mean the world to him. He’ll be able to say: I made it back again, despite all the odds stacked against me. What a sense of pride and satisfaction. Even if he doesn’t set the world on fire like he used to, no one will judge him, like you say. It would still be worth it, in my opinion, even for the F1 community as a whole. Or maybe he will be able to surprise us after all. We can only find out if he is given the chance.

          1. Mark in Florida
            26th August 2018, 1:24

            I believe that a one handed Kubica is better than a two handed Stroll. Robert has the advantage of experience and how to get things done. I think he can work around his disabilities to utilise his abilities. I’ve had hope that somehow Robert would be able to compete again. So begrudgingly I thank Laurence for spending a ton of money to get his son out of Roberts seat. Good luck Robert at least one thing went right out of all this.

          2. Yes, I agree, would be great for him to actually make it back to f1, no matter how it goes.

            He won’t be schumacher, talent wise, but he also has an advantage to make up for it: he’s at a peak age, when schumacher came back, he was not only past the time when decline starts (35) but also past the time when decline speeds up (40)!

          3. Mercedes screwed the pooch. They should not have been so quick to announce extending Bottas, they could have sent him packing back to Williams and promoted Ocon next year.

        3. Well put! Exactly my thought here.

  4. Vandoorne -> Ericsson move is the only surprise (for me). Likely there has been a stronger shift in the Sauber ownership and Alfa Romeo (Ferrari) and Vasseur has more influence than previously thought. It’s no longer Longbow’s (Marcus Ericsson’s backers) kindergarden.

    1. It’s no longer Longbow’s (Marcus Ericsson’s backers) kindergarden

      Exactly what I thought too. Ericson brings in money and can be the only reason why he is in a seat over there. I wonder who and how they make that equasion work out positive between Vandoorne and Ericson.

    2. Indeed, I would be surprised to see Ericsson left without a drive this season

    3. @alexde
      It is hard for me to believe a well backed driver like Ericson will lose his seat mid season. He’s not crashing the car or causing drama.

      Maybe next season, or if the politics/sponsorship of the team change. But you don’t expect sponsorship agreements to change mid season.

  5. Thats a great move for Stoff! But it’s incredibly sad for Esteban, he’s a gem in my view. But if that keeps him in the radar, it’s not a disaster. Who knows what will happen next year anyway, he could even be back at Force India sooner than later

    1. If Ocon does well then it could be a Mercedes seat for 2020, that is the future for him.

  6. I would like to see Vandoorne at McLaren, without Alonso vigure as his team mate. I believe he can be more than he’s now.

    My opinion, putting him at Sauber vs highly rated team mate like Leclerc is no different than he has been this 2 years with Alonso.

    1. Both Magnussen and Perez are better than their McLaren stint made them look, let’s hope the same for Vandoorne. Though that thought makes me more sorry for Ocon.

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        26th August 2018, 1:41

        Ehh. Ocon will probably beat Sainz fairly handily next year if there are paired up at McLaren, especially if Ocon gets the jump on Sainz by moving to McLaren this season. Sainz is fairly well regarded, so if Ocon does beat him, I don’t think it will hurt Ocon’s reputation any, even if McLaren are perennial underachievers.

        1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
          26th August 2018, 1:42


  7. Going Orange right now won’t do any good to Ocon. That said, while I find really nice a Leclerc-Vandoorne lineup, I’d prefer a Leclerc-Ocon pairing.
    Better yet would be 2019 with LEC/MAG, VAN/OCO, SAI/NOR.
    Regarding Williams, whatever.

    1. Well, Ocon is by no fault of his own in this bad situation where he has no choice at all regarding his future drive in F1, at least regarding this proposed midseasonswap..
      And whilst I agree with you about a LEC-OCO lineup would be a great thing to watch, there is just zero chances for Ferrari backed Leclerc and Mercedes backed Ocon to race against each other in the same team at this point of time. But on the other hand we are going to see Stoffel finally out of Orange, which is the best that could’ve happen to him.
      Same regarding your proposal for 2019’s line-ups of LEC/MAG and SAI/NOR are validate but VAN/OCO, I don’t see it happen.
      You just don’t want to race for Orange at this point of time.
      Anyway I’d love to see old man Kubica back in a drive!

      1. Ahah, would be nice a leclerc-ocon line up, mercedes and ferrari going with something like (based on the latest race results): “see? Our junior driver is better than yours!”.

    2. Mclaren should still have a car able to fight for points in tracks where the engine doesn’t matter as much as here and monza, he’s not alonso but he’s definitely not that far off, so he should still be able to show his talent there; would be much harder on a williams in general.

  8. I will be suprised if Williams choose Kubica over Ocon for 2019

    1. in my opinion Kubica is faster and more complete driver than Ocon

      1. Yeh, 10 years ago

      2. Kubica is a top 3 to top 5 driver, he has shown that. Back in f1 he will show it again.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          26th August 2018, 11:41

          Kubica was a. Do you really think 7 years out of the sport won’t affect him. No experience with this hybrid era. Totally different cars. It is so different to when he was last here that I struggle to think he would be much better than the average rookie now. Sorry to say. I would of course be impressive if he could manage it and would be nice to see, but I seriously doubt he will be a great driver with this much time out.

    2. Kubica before the accident was called another Alain Prost so I would definately choose him instead of Ocon.

    3. @lamalas I’d be surprised if Ocon chooses Williams over McLaren. Or over retirement for that matter, given Williams’ current state, and with far less money next season from losing Martini and Daddy Stroll’s money.

    4. @lamalas
      I think the question over Kubica’s performance is the biggest reason to doubt this predicted shuffling.

      If Williams thought Kubica was a better combination of pace and sponsorship he would have Sirotkin’s seat already.

      There are two questions that will be answered by the end of the season. Is Stroll good/sponsored enough for Force Point Indian? Probably?

      Is Kubica fit enough/sponsored enough for Williams in 2019? Who knows.

  9. Nightmare for Codemasters.

    1. They’ve never bothered to patch the game after Kvyat midseason demotion. Won’t change anything this time too.

      1. Well at least this year the game was ‘in-date’ for one round after release.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        25th August 2018, 23:37

        They always based their game on the first race of the season. No problems there.

      3. You are incorrect. F1 2016 had Verstappen at Red Bull, and Kvyat at Toro Rosso.

    2. Chart farnsbarns
      25th August 2018, 21:54

      Quote of the year, we’ll done that man

    3. @bernasaurus Precisely. If this chain-reaction type of movement in the driver market were to happen, then I couldn’t drive single-player mode races as either Stroll (not that I’d use him too often anyway), Ocon, Vandoorne, nor Ericsson anymore after this race since it wouldn’t be relevant anymore, LOL.

      1. Maybe next year, rather than the interview crap, they can include some in season driver market turmoil.

  10. This is getting more confusing by the day. By Monza I’m half-expecting every single driver on the grid to be changing team or exiting F1, and about half-a-dozen rookies to be making a debut there…

    1. Yeah I find it hard to believe honestly

      I’d say Stroll to RPFI and Icon sitting the season out before taking Kubica’s place next year is the most likely option

  11. Well, this makes the whole Stroll-to-replace-Ocon thing a bit easier to swallow. More than anything, it would be a terrible shame if Kubica’s long-awaited return was at the net expense of one of F1’s brightest young talents. I do feel sorry for Ericsson if his career ends due to an event so far removed from himself, but he has been in F1 for half a decade and, aside from a handful of impressive performances, has done little more than make up the numbers.

    Apart from Stroll getting a richly undeserved move up the grid, I’d be quite happy with this set up. I’m excited to see Ocon going up against Fernando. I believe Vandoorne would benefit greatly from a fresh start with Sauber. And most of all, it’d be amazing to see Kubica race again.

    Of course, I’d prefer to Kubica replace Stroll and for Stroll to leave F1 to race in LMGTE-Am with all the other wealthy amateurs, but this is the next best thing.

    1. Stroll Jr. driving for Stroll Sr.’s Force India – nepotism at it’s finest.

  12. Ericsson out?
    I never thought I’d see the day this happens. The obvious downside is Stroll. And what would that mean for Vandoorne’s future? I have so many questions. Silly season on steroids.

  13. This is completely mad. When was the last time there was such a big reshuffle like this mid season?

    1. I’ve never witnessed such a crazy silly season tbh

    2. I haven’t seen a shuffle this big ever in F1. Mid season or not! But I love it.
      For far too long teams have hung on to drivers at the expense of new and exciting talent.

  14. I’d love it if Ocons move to McLaren also meant the team being supplied with Mercedes engines.

    1. No it would be Renault engines – Merc and Renault have an alliance, so they can justify it

      1. That’s true, it was my wishful thinking from a longtime suffering McLaren fan.

        1. @emu55

          Clearly it isnt the engine or driver thats the roblem with McLaren

          1. @rethla The engine is definitely still part of the equation, or else Red Bull would be fighting for the championship. On the drivers I agree though.

          2. @toiago
            As long as they are properly beaten by both Honda and Renault engines on powertracks its not part of the equation. Maybe with an Mercedes engine they could finish both cars in front of Williams but thats about it…

          3. @rethla Ok, I see what you were getting at. I was going a bit further and commenting from a contending for championships point of view.

    2. @emu55 IMO what McLaren needs is a works engine deal, especially one which actually delivers, personnel/structural changes aside. If the next rules prove to be more affordable and some more teams come to the sport (pending Liberty’s changes, of course) maybe they should even look into building their own engines themselves and have some customers, instead of diverting their budget to adventures in other series.

  15. That all sounds rather positive actually.

  16. The best silly season ever! It kept us on the edge for 4 weeks! So many changes hardly can remember in so little time and the Italian GP is yet to come ! Go F1 , only here!

  17. So when the music stops, does everyone just grab a race drive?

  18. I kind of want to know what’s in it for Mclaren to take Ocon.

    Yes he’s a good driver but the Mercedes leverage surely only applies to Mercedes customer teams, not Renault customer teams, so have they sweetened the deal further for Mclaren?

    1. McLaren back to Mercedes engines for 2019. Now that would be quite odd.

  19. Kubica racing again and Ericsson gone, I think this is too good to be true.

    1. If it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is (fake news)!

      That’s just a saying ofc, I’m positive it will actually happen.

  20. What about Ericsson’s contract though? While all the others, who are involved in this game of musical chairs, might happily or reluctantly agree to the switch, I imagine that Ericsson and his sponsors will not be impressed (to put it mildly). Perhaps van der Garde would like to comment on this?

    1. Yes, I fail to see how Ericsson could lose his seat at Sauber

      1. Leclerc goes to Ferrari to spice things up.

        1. @rethla
          Rather, Leclerc goes to Haas, Marcus stays at Sauber and Romain is out of F1. I think that is acceptable to all.

  21. Wow, this is getting interesting now, but still, I won’t buy this potential chain-reaction type of movement as long as nothing’s officially confirmed.

  22. There were some rumors that Perez agreed with Haas for 2019. I don’t know how valid those rumors are, but they are just rumors. In this way, Ocon could be fully safe & Perez would move to a new team.
    This is pretty serious, especially for Vandoorne. Going against Leclerc can either contribute to him regaining some of his reputation & pretty much help him save his F1 career, or it can end it, but without return this time.

    1. Either you are good enough to bash your teammate to the ground or you’re Nº 2 or you’re equal. The current Nº 1 drivers have tended to establish themself (Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso and Verstappen to some extent). Which is what Vandoorne, Ocon and Gasly still got to prove and if they don’t. Well their teammates were the better racer than and I’m fine with them being dropped. If you’re not good enough you’re just not good enough …

      But then there’s still Lance Stroll to whom these simple rules don’t seem to apply because Daddy is carrying some money around which is sad to me because he is wasting a place better used for talent than money ..

    2. Michael Brown (@)
      25th August 2018, 23:40

      I would prefer if Grosjean lost out in all of this than Ericsson and especially Ocon.

      1. @mbr-9 Ericsson is just a very average driver with backing, Grosjean actually has some pace. Happy to see the back of Ericsson, he won’t be winning in any series. Outclassed by a rookie, ceding near 0.6 of a sec, unable to beat a mediocre Nasr and losing to Wehrlein, times up! Anyone of 6-8 drivers from the F2 grid are faster and more promising.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          26th August 2018, 11:27

          I don’t understand what it is with people saying Ericsson was unable to beat Nasr. Not if you just look at the 2 vs 0 points Nasr had over Ericsson. But Ericsson was very clearly the better driver of the 2 in 2016. Saying unable to beat is silly. He beat him a fair bit more often than not that season. And if there were several retirements in Mexico last year like there were for Nasr in Brazil, Ericsson would have more points. Shows how 1 race resulting in points to some people can make them think the driver with those points had the better season.

          If you look back at the races that are fair to compare, Ericsson beat Nasr in 10 of them. Nasr in 6. And about 5 or 6 times, Ericsosn beat Nasr by more than just 1 position and often my a lot of time too. Ericsson was at fault for them both colliding in Monaco so I’ve given that to Nasr. that one to Nasr. In Italy Nasr was at fault for his own retirement there. He didn’t realise Palmer was there and ran him off the track, giving himself a puncture and too much damage to continue.

          Also, most of the races that Nasr retired due to reliability, Ericsson was ahead before these problems were there. I don’t know how anybody can say Ericsson was worse than Nasr in 2016.

          1. However you look at it, it was two mediocre drivers by Formula 1 standards.

  23. Everyone seems to be happy, because Ericsson is going out and Kubica is coming back, but I’m not looking forward to this at all.

    Stroll shouldn’t even be in Formula One, but now he’s switching to a better team and because of that Ocon is basically demoted to McLaren. Frankly, I’m starting to wonder whether Formula One is a sport I want to follow anymore. I’m not interested in seeing rich kids competing on whose dad is the richest.

    Kubica was one of the best drivers when he was racing in Formula One, but he’s been out of the series for too long. I just can’t see him succeeding. Not to mention that he’s driving for Williams, so he’ll be second-to-last even if he’s still good.

    1. @hotbottoms

      Dont worry about Stroll he wont be anywhere no matter what car he buys. With Kubica in the car maybe Williams can get back to Felipe Massa levels of performance who knows, lets wait and see.

      1. I think Sirotkin is either little better than Stroll, or the car is truly problematic. I highly doubt that RK is going to suddenly perform ‘Massa’ like with the current Williams.

        1. @robbie

          Why not, Massa isnt exactly a top 10 driver but hes 1sec faster than Stroll. If Kubica cant perform on Massas level he should show himself out.

          1. Massa’s experience over rookie Stroll should have seen him ahead, so no surprise there. Kubica hasn’t been any more impressive when he has tested this year’s Williams. The car is by far the biggest problem.

    2. Very well said.
      I’ve been watching F1 since 1990 and I’ve had enough
      Deep pockets rule buts it’s only one of a myriad of reasons why F1 doesn’t cut it anymore.
      I’ve got better things to do with my time – I’m out!

  24. Still have Toro Tosso to come…

  25. Poor Ocon… i dont think MCL will be better next year….. but i the more happy guy if all this huppen must be Stoffel Vandoorne who suddenly goes to Sauber…. cool.

  26. I’m not to sure about Kubica’s return. We might even see Ericcson in the Williams, only if he brings in more cash than Kubica ofcourse..

  27. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    25th August 2018, 21:37

    What a joke, Liberty should make a rule where unless injury, a driver is obligated to finish a season in the same car, this is a joke.

    1. The way the commentators were talking during Qualifying made it sound as though Force India have had all their Constructors’ Championship points annulled. I think that’s a worse joke, but at least Force India are still racing.
      If Laurence Stroll wants to buy a top team and ruin it, then that’s his prerogative, but he does have to answer to the other new shareholders.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        26th August 2018, 11:52

        Well, I don’t like the fact that it was bought when it was, but the deduction in points is perfectly acceptable. It isn’t the exact same team any more. You can’t what is effectively 2 different teams share their points. Starting again is the right thing to do. And due to the fact they went into administration, I guess buying the team at the point Stroll did was the right time to save it. So all in all I don’t think it could have been dealt with much better.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      26th August 2018, 11:49

      Yea, i think that is a good point. I’m sick of these mid season moves. No matter if I think a driver should get moved down or up a team, or a driver should get brought in or removed from the sport, I don’t think it should be allowed in the middle of the season. If the team chose to have a driver for the season, they should keep them for the season. So I think Ericsson, Stroll, Vandoorne, Ocon and every other driver should stay put until at least the end of this year. It just messes everything up otherwise. Having to get used to a new team in the middle of a season will likely affect your ability to get the best from the car as you will have to get used to it all over again.

      Like you say, i think there should be a rule against this happening.

      1. Let’s not forget this all started because of Mallya defaulting on money owed starting with being arrested back in 2012 regarding his airline. So quite a unique situation, no? Stroll and some partners have rescued a F1 team, at a time when the number of teams is minimal, and he has saved 400+jobs. That they are a new entity requires that contracts become void and new contracts need redoing legally. If they had rules against this sort of thing there’d be two fewer drivers with jobs and 400 staff out of work, only nine teams on the grid, 18 cars. Stroll and his group should be getting a lot more appreciation than just being run into the ground for buying his son a team. Even if one were to say this was all only ever about Lawrence buying Lance a seat, the pressure will now be on Lance like never before as now there won’t be the excuse of such a poor Williams. If Lance truly shows in a half decent car that it was never the car all along, and he is that bad, then he won’t be on the team as a driver ad infinitum.

  28. Could have been much much worse. Ocon gets to stay in f1, ericsson is out, kubica is in. And perez will destroy moneybags stroll. Although driving for williams is going to be short deal for kubica. I’m sure williams is already going through the chec… I mean phone books to find another pay driver. The question is how much does it cost to terminate kubica’s contract if more paying driver becomes available.

    I’m calling it. Ericsson will be driving williams next.

    All I hope kubica does well and proves my suspicions that williams only chose its driver based on money while fully ignoring the skill of the drivers. They could have had massa and kubica or even di resta if they cared about driver skill at all but instead went with the moneybag duo of sirotkin and stroll. At the same time it is sad to see kubica having to drive such bad car in such bad team. In worst case scenario it is a short stint at williams.

    I’d guess we will finally see if vandoorne’s troubles at mclaren were because of his skill or because mclaren was focusing purely on alonso. If ocon does badly it is dead giveaway at that point that mclaren is a one car team. If ocon does well then it is all eyes on vandoorne at sauber. Leclerc is a tough cookie and vandoorne needs to step up couple of buildings worth of stairs to beat him.

  29. I hope we see Kubica pull off a classy, outfoxing, outthinking, bamboozling, tactical overtaking move on Stroll before the season is out.

    Preferably one that leaves the spoiled little rich kid scratching his head do much he forgets where he’s going and he ends up in a gravel trap …

    1. I don’t think the Williams will be anywhere the Force India in the near future …

      1. With stroll driving slowly at Fi and Kubica fast at Williams, they could share the same bits of road

  30. Kubica deserves this seat like no one else. This history has to have its happy ending.

  31. I just hope Kubica gets a seat soon so he can properly embarrass himself, can leave again and we as F1 fandom can regather our composure and collective dignity.

    1. I don’t want any bad to Kubica, but just like you I don’t think it is good news to have him back in F1. He should race in others categories – there are plenty with competitive fields and ready to welcome him.

      1. Can’t hurt doing half a season to realise his dream to get back in f1 and see where he stands performance wise, then he can go do other races if he feels he’s not at the level he wants or if they replace him, 1 year won’t hurt.

        1. @esploratore +1 to this. He steps into the breach for 2018, and then teams/he can assess how 2019 goes.

    2. That’s a lovely sentiment @klon you’re certainly upping the ante on fandom dignity

  32. If things play out like this then my feelings are “bittersweet”. We keep Ocon, but he gets demoted and Stroll gets promoted. The driver movement this season has been astonishing!

    All well and good that Lance’s Dad has bought into the team but I can’t see this being a good move for him or Force India. As a new entry they need to score as many points as possible after being made to start from zero. Surely that’s best achieved with the current drivers. Mid-season moves are always difficult, only special talents can pull it off (Verstappen is a good example), I suspect with Stroll’s amount of talent that he will get seriously found out if he moves (unless he’s given superior parts on his car).

    Crunch time for Vandoorne if he gets pitted against Leclerc.

    Go on then Williams, was that decision to to have Sirotkin purely based on his talent? We may find out soon enough

  33. Vandoorne getting a promotion is nice, but Stroll getting one really hurts.

  34. Weird to think that the biggest winner with lawrence stroll buying Force India is Kubica. Lance is going to have a huge surprise with Perez as a team mate if all this comes through, unforunately money can only get you so far.

    1. Luckily money can only get you so far*

      Stroll will never be a world champion with what he showed before, even if you give him a dominant car and an average team mate (barrichello-like), the average team mate will wipe the floor with him.

      1. People can hate Stroll all they want. But Stroll did manage to be a world champion on dominant and clear #1 status before.

        You could say the same thing about Hamilton and Vettel.

  35. My only question is, who’s going to pay for all these moves?
    One assumes that there is an agreement in place with Williams for financing for the entire season –
    Presumably Ocon has a contract with Force India for the entire season that will need adressing if he is to move to a less the similar team –
    Vandoorne also has a contract to be dealt with, although based on this weekend it might not be to difficult to convince him to shift teams!

    1. Ocon had a full season contract with another team.

  36. I’d love to see RPFI’s newly appointed CEO/team principal stand up and tell the owners that he’ll keep his current drivers for 2018 and only consider changing after the proposed new driver proves himself in a few P1 outings.

    The fact that the owners seem to be able to dictate things is not a good sign for a team whose success has been built on sound decisions from the likes of Otmar and Bob Fernley.

  37. I’m wondering how things will play out if Stroll really sucks at FI. As his father bought the team as a part of a consortium, there are other people with a say in how things go, so the other members may want to replace his son for someone better if Lance doesn’t produce. That could be really interesting. I might even pay to watch that unfold.

    1. True that, looking forward to his (under) performance then!

    2. “if Stroll really sucks at FI”

      Daddy could always buy Premier League Darts ?

    3. If those other investors had any interest in F1 and any say in the matter, they would certainly not agree to replace a talented driver with a lousy one, would they? I doubt Stroll will become even worse than he has been so far, so if they are okay with this, they’ll be okay with it in the future.

  38. i feel sad for ericsson, the only pay driver i like, nice guy, i hope he finds a seat in another team

  39. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    26th August 2018, 3:20

    If Williams produce a great car in 2019 and Force India have a stinker is Richie Rich gonna ask daddy to buy him a Ferrari after Spa 2019?

  40. Owners dictating things to teams and or companies that they own … yep, they can do that and they usually do. They own the show.
    For all those disappointed in some of the details and driver movements, look at what has transpired in the last 2 weeks.
    A successful team on the verge of bankruptcy, not only saved, but back racing again before they could peel the stickers off the motorhomes.
    Of all the driver movements, the only real “looser”is M. Erickson, who has had a number of years to prove himself. The best judge of his value to Sauber would undoubtedly be the Sauber Team and it sure looks like they dropped him about the instant that the phone was picked up at McLaren.
    Ocon has a drive for the rest of the year and a chance to go up against Alonso. What competitive racer wouldn’t jump at that. Expectation is that he will shine and be in a good to great position for next season.
    Kubica is looking like getting an opportunity to show his stuff and Williams, probably more significantly, gets a driver who can help with the development of next year’s car. Something that they desperately need.
    Don’t expect Kubica’s term to be short lived. Did someone mention the Racer Attitude … Besides, once Williams pays out the insurance clause cost, they will want everything they can get from him.
    Perez, well at least HE knows where he is going next year. But this year, he is in a competitive car, in a well funded team intent on squeezing as many points out of the remaining races as possible. Starting second row you say …. not bad for a guy that had a long term booking for a lounger at the beach two weeks ago.
    Say what you like about the Stroll’s, but Sr. has made things happen and there is probably more to come. If the rest of the story is half as good as the first part, it’s going to be great.
    As noted above, this is the craziest and most entertaining Silly Season ever. Will it ever stop.?

    1. @rekibsn

      Nice post. I’m starting to think F1 would be more interesting running a B Championship. In fact give Ferrari and Mercedes their own race and pay the B teams decent prize money as interest increases in these drivers who are being increasingly locked out of the two dominant teams.

    2. NS Biker … well said
      Although I disapprove of “Daddy” buying a seat/team for his son, I do appreciate SOMEONE saved the Force India Team. Let the chips fall … I truly believe in Karma.

    3. The problem with your Ocon argument is that the Mclaren cars are so bad and their setup so unreliable that there’s a real chance he won’t get equivalent machinery.
      Vandoorne’s car is fraught with issues, most of which have nothing to do as him.
      Mclaren’s management is a mess as is pretty much everything to do with putting two half decent cars on the grid.
      Going up against Alonso in that car is pretty much meaningless. Even if he beats him, there’s a fair chance that it will be his car not beating him by skill.

      For mine Putting Ocon in that dog does nothing for him.RPFI needs to maximise points which dictates that they should use the best driver combinations no they can get (I.e. their current drivers). Stroll jr can (and should) wait – staying in his current seat does him no harm.

      1. What if Ocon is a lot slower than Alonso? I doubt that would be good for his career. Vandoorne has been all but written off because he’s 2 to 3 tenths slower on average.

        1. In a toxic car in a toxic team? I doubt anyone who knows anything about F1 drivers would care to be honest.

          I’d be absolutely amazed if Ocon even gets close given that the car is a complete dog, there’s doubt as to whether the chassis is even the same as Alonso’s, and that to expect any driver to get into a strange car that Alonso has been driving all year and compete straight away is highly unlikely.

          Hopefully if Ocon is shuffled to Mclaren, they’ll get focussed on developing a half decent car for 2019 and forget this year.

  41. Perez will stroll past his partner next year for sure.

  42. Everyone bashing Stroll, and unfairly I’d say. It’s not like he spent the first 6 races crashing like Verstappen did. Speaking of Verstappen guess who took his record for youngest front row starter? Stroll. In the wet. In a Williams.

    Remember Stroll has more podiums than Hulkenberg.

    Yes his dad has a lot of money and I know that that just turns up the jealousy dials to 11 for a lot of people but between Ericsson and Stroll I’d rather see Stroll stay.

    1. Pointing out that he would not be in an F1 car without his dad is not bashing, it’s an obvious truth. Lucking out on a podium doesn’t change that he was 7 tenths slower than Massa. But, he’ll now get a chance to prove everyone wrong against Perez!

      1. Pointing out that he would not be in an F1 car without his dad is not bashing

        Never said it was, strawman alert!

        Lucking out on a podium

        Hulkenberg binned it, Stroll didn’t, that’s not luck it’s good driving
        Vettel crashed twice under the safety car and got himself a stop go penalty, Stroll didn’t, that’s not luck it’s good driving.

    2. Does it really matter that Stroll more podiums than Hulk?

    3. Well, you can always learn my grandma to fly if you put enough time and money in it. But she won’t become a fighter pilot though.

  43. If Lance is forced into What’s your Point Racing, I would predict Otmar’s VERY short gardening leave to McLaren.

  44. Makes me sad to lose our swede because of this, is it just me than dont want kubica back?

    1. I want Kubica back but not jumping into an broken Williams midseason because Stroll is buying a new car. I feel like Kubica wont stay in the car for very long like this.
      Ericsson getting the boot because Ocon has to move to a lesser team to make room feels sour aswell, they are both better drivers than Stroll.

  45. If a quarter of the line up changes mid-season due to a father buying a midfield team for his son, than that would be a fair representation of the poor shape the pinnacle of motorsport is in.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      26th August 2018, 10:37

      As much as I think some drivers are very poor or very good, I hate to see any mid season switches. If the team sign on the team at the start of the year, they should keep him. Just how many times has this happened in the last few years?

      Spain 2016. Toro Rosso move Verstappen up to Red Bull. Kvyat goes the other way.
      Malaysia 2017, Kvyat has been kicked out of Toro Rosso. Gasly races.
      USA 2017, Palmer gets kicked out of Renault. The should have kept him for the full season since they secided to sign him on for 2017. Or not do that in the first place. Sainz takes his place at Renault. Gasly gets replaced by Kvyat. Hartley joins and takes Sainz’s seat.
      Mexico 2017, Kvyat gets kicked out altogether. Gasly comes back in and takes his place. This is musical chairs!

      I just wish things were decided at the end and start of seasons. I don’t mind that Stroll is going to Racing point Force India, but I would rather he went at the start of next year to at least allow Perez and Ocon to not have their seasons messed up even more. Same with all the other teams. Please don’t do things now! Just confirm what will happen next year.

      1. Sounds like this was quite a unique situation though right, what with urgency on the financial side of FI thanks to Mallya? The swaps you speak of primarily revolve around RBR and their junior team STR, ie. within one entitiy’s two teams, as would be their place to do so, so hardly an indication of rampant driver swaps mid season throughout F1 as a whole and every year. More often than not little changes wrt driver lineups throughout seasons.

  46. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    26th August 2018, 10:26

    I’m a bit doubtful about this Vandoorne move. And I barely see him as any better than Ericsson. Just look at the points.

    I see that if Vandoorne comes into a new team, he will be a fair bit worse than Ericsson to begin with. I mean he’s only got 8 points. And he hasn’t scored points for 8 races! Erisccon just has 3 less. Alonso has 44! I don’t think Sauber should take this risk. They will know Ericsson isn’t that great but also know what to expect. He isn’t terrible and has been having some good races this year. Because of his money (which does benefit the team) and his experience, I think it is very unlikely Vandoorne will swap as well as it being the wrong decision.

    Regarding Kubica, I think it is a huge risk. He won’t have had an F1 seat for 7 years if he joins now! Coming in after that much time off and going through what he has unfortunately makes me think he will be very slow compared to pretty much everyone else. I still think with all these moves going on, bringing back Massa would be a significantly better option. The performance in his last season was not indicating he was ready to step down.

    I actually think 3 of the drivers pictured above should both stay where they are. Ericsson, Kubica Vandoorne. With Kubica staying without a seat. McLaren just shouldn’t risk 2 drivers that haven’t been in the team the previous season. That will mess up their chances of good finishes, especially for the first part of the season while the drivers are getting used to it. While I don’t rate Vandoorne high, I think his experience is enough for that they should keep him given Alonso will have left. Similar with Ericsson. He again isn’t that good, but he will be in his 5th season with Sauber next year. While I understand some may be fed up with him being here, you can’t deny they he’s experienced there and will know a lot about the car. And at this stage will almost certainly be able to give better feedback compared to Leclerc as he’s had many years to base it on. I used to think he should have been kicked out of F1, but I have the opposite views to many now. Now he’s been in for this long, I think it is more sensible than back then for Sauber to keep him. Experience and money being the main reasons. I also see that his performances have improved this season. Clearly not as good as Leclerc as he’s been dominated in 5 races, but he has also managed to beat Leclerc overall in a similar amount of weekends. Just not by as much. And if it wasn’t for team orders in Austria, I think it is quite likely Ericsson will have found away past Leclerc without having to return the position. Then he would have got 33.3% of the teams points. That isn’t that bad given how high we are rating Leclerc compared to him. If Vandoorne can only manage 8 points at McLaren so far, I think he may have struggled to even come close to Ericsson’s 5 points in Sauber this year. But however, he is probably more likely to get better in time. But swapping mid season seems too risky. Ever since Baku, Ericsson has had more impressive performances than Vandoorne in my view despite crashing out in Britain.

    I know Williams isn’t looking Good at the moment, but I think Lowe will be busy trying to get it better next year. I think a driver line up like Ocon and Massa would be pretty good. Ocon has shown he’s very good, and Massa being very experienced. But this is only me wishing things. I don’t think Massa is coming back.

    1. I don’t think Massa is coming back.

      @thegianthogweed – Massa I don’t really see as an option right now, he already has plans in place for next season in Formula e. However I agree with you in thinking they do need an experienced driver to help with the development of their cars. Jean-Eric Vergne said he was approached by one F1 team about a possible seat, could it have been Williams? If so I think he would be a great choice. Then retaining Sirotkin (for the funds) wouldn’t be so bad, or they could go one better by picking up Ocon if he is still available and brings a Mercedes engine price discount.

  47. Kubica today said he is ready to reporter Christian menatham, that even driving every 4 months he can end up. 5 seconds faster than weekly f1 drivers, I take his word over the sceptics in this forum. Earlier this week he said medical tests by Renault last year showed he is using 30% right hand and 70% left hand, with 35% more strength in left hand than other drivers. His mind uses this naturally now, and he relaxes his left hand more on the straights than others. . For 6 years he said he would not return until he is ready to, now he is ready. He could get results with Williams like alonso has had with mclaren or leclerc with sauber, or kubica with Renault 2010, where he was nearly unanimously voted driver of the year by many media and sporting votes. Kubica said he is a better driver now, I cant wait.

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