Lance Stroll, Williams, Hockenheimring, 2018

Stroll visits Force India but Ocon to drive at Monza

2018 Italian Grand Prix

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Lance Stroll visited the Force India factory at Silverstone today amid ongoing speculation the Williams driver could move to his father’s Formula 1 team before the end of the season.

A Force India spokesperson would not elaborate on the reason for Stroll’s visit, which RaceFans understands was to have a seat fitting.

The same spokesperson confirmed the team will retain its current driver line-up of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Ocon’s place at the team is believed to be at risk from a Stroll move, as Perez has already signed to stay at the team next year. Following last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Stroll said he was “on standby” for a potential change of teams.

The team was rescued from administration following the Hungarian Grand Prix in a deal to sell the team’s assets to a consortium including Stroll’s father Lawrence. However the team had to forfeit all the points it had scored so far in order to re-enter the championship.

Perez and Ocon finished fifth and sixth in the first race for the ‘new’ team in last weekend’s race at Spa.

Read the full story on Force India’s rescue deal in Dieter Rencken’s new RacingLines column tomorrow on RaceFans.

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78 comments on “Stroll visits Force India but Ocon to drive at Monza”

  1. A very sad state of affairs, Ocon/Perez is so much stronger a driver line up than Stroll/Perez. I’m consoling myself with the fact that circa 400 people still have jobs and are able to provide for their families, if this move needs to happen in order for that to happen then so be it. On top of that, Mercedes seem determined to find Ocon a drive somewhere else in F1, so it can’t be all that bad.

    1. If it wasn’t daddy Stroll to save Force India it was Mazepin. I don’t think that would have helped Ocon.

      It is what it is. Racing is a rich man’s game. Formula 1 may be one of the few racing classes where at least some drivers actually earn money while racing.

    2. @geemac also something to console you: those 400-odd Force India employees now have a bit more time to polish up their resumees and meet with other teams while Force India turns into a customer team as Lawrance wanted Williams to do. It would make a good B-team for Mercedes as well, having a consistant yard stick in Lance to compare their junior drivers to.

      1. Exactly. We should stop whining about those 400 jobs. They are all highly skilled professionals who should be able to find a good job in no time.

        1. Try tell your mortgage lender that when your employer goes bust overnight…

          We all hold F1 staff in extremely high regard because we are F1 fans, but at the end of the day they are employed by companies the same as most of us and they have bills to pay and families to support. We should feel sympathy for them because no one deserves to go through that.

      2. @The Dolphins
        The yardstick idea is good. 2 seconds faster than Lance – good driver; 1 second faster than Lance – mediocre driver; 0.5 seconds faster than Lance – bad driver.

        1. Yes, the concept is right, you can divide those gaps by 3 times and you get an accurate picture; also 1 sec faster than stroll = top driver!

      3. Force India turns into a customer team

        don’t they already buy a big part of the Mercedes back-end?

        1. @davidnotcoulthard – but not as many listed parts as Haas does from Ferrari, which is what Lawrence Stroll wanted Williams to do originally, failing which he moved on to FI.

    3. Very good point.

  2. It’s amazing to me that Stroll manages to walk through the paddock with his head high, and truly believe that his very presence in F1 alone, forget about the move to Force India, is not entirely, 100 percent, all about his father’s money.

    1. I was thinking the same. Father and son are other both deluded or totally lack self awareness. I suspect both actually. It’s an embarrassment not just for them but for the wider “sport”.

    2. They live in a different world to 99% of the species.
      They don’t care what you think because they can’t care what you think.
      They only care about about wealth. Not talent – not honesty – not decency.

      1. @nullapax Sorry, splitting hairs but it’s actually closer to 99.999997% of the population!

    3. It’s amazing to me that Stroll manages to walk through the paddock with his head high

      Erm why? What did Stroll do that was so wrong?

      1. What he did wrong is being Lance Stroll, mediocre little rich kid whose daddy bought him an F1 team because he outgrew his sandbox and doesn’t like 100 foot yachts.

      2. Feeding on his father’s money and hitching a ride on it.

        1. It’s sad that we need to focus our anger on individuals like this and not the system that enables them to prosper.

          It makes criticising a serious flaw in the sport come across as just petty jealousy.

          We can do better.

  3. At times, I feel sad for Lance.

    1. I think this may be the most accurate way to think about this

    2. Yeah I have a soft spot in my heart for privileged sons of billionaires also. As Lancie strolls through the paddock we can all sing “Cry Me a River.”

  4. So how bad is this guy really? Is he bad by current F1 drivers? Or is he bad in that he’s a danger to other drivers and shouldn’t be anywhere near F1?

    I know there’s a lot of haters of this guy but this is a serious question. If the best car is really the major determining factor of who wins the championship, then isn’t there a little too much uproar over the driver?

    I mean, it’s clear he’s no Hamilton or Vettel, but if you put him in a Merc or Ferrari, wouldn’t he fare just as well as the other mid to low ranking current F1 drivers?

    1. well, he was about 0.5s off of Massa way past Massa’s prime driving time. That’s a real and measurable performance difference just because of the driver.

      1. But is it bad enough to be considered completely unsuitable for F1?

        1. He’s the youngest front row starter in F1 history, and he managed that in a Williams, in the wet.

          So no he is not bad enough to be considered completely unsuitable for F1, he’s not even another Will Stevens or Max Chilton. What he is, unfortunately for him, is the son of someone who is very wealthy and the driver of the worst car on the grid. For these crimes the uninformed masses on the internet have their pitchforks out for him.

          1. Stroll has finished 5/9 ahead of rookie Sirotkin on races they have both finished and is behind 7/12 in qualifying. Sirotkin was pretty solid in F2 and a race winner, in the second half of the season you would expect the results to move towards Sirotkin in the race as well. Stroll will be crushed by Perez, will be a waste of a decent seat.

      2. I’ve never driven an F1 car, and only done a few laps in a “formula” car at one of those one-day schools on my birthday, so I have no first-hand knowledge, but I think this is really, really hard. From what I can read, I think that if you can lap consistently on a road course within a couple tenths lap after lap, without losing a few tenths here or there with a slide or lock up or braking a hair too early, you are in the correct end of the distribution. And if you can get within a second, much less some tenths, of a guy who battled for a title in F1, you are probably are not total crap. And it’s not like Sirotkin is just laying a second on him in every session. He’s not an embarrassment.

        Stroll is obviously here because he has money, but he is no Ide. I also remember the point made by Bruno Senna a while ago that driving a terrible car is actually much harder than a good car. Remember that the Williams has the same power as the works MB and 95 percent of the downforce, it just desperate to throw you into the scenery and eat up the tires and generally make you look completely foolish. Stroll has earned the benefit of the doubt. Does he deserve to replace Ocon in a very fast car? Prolly not.

        1. Interesting angle. It’s interesting to think that of all the activities one might have a natural talent in, motor racing is pretty well towards the extreme end of inaccessibility to develop that talent. When it comes to football, or playing the guitar for example, the barriers to participation are so low that it’s likely that those acknowledged as the best in the world are likely to be at the very top end of the talent spectrum. When it comes to f1, it’s highly probable that the most naturally talented individuals are out there in obscurity, perhaps flipping burgers or writing code (heck, it might even be me!). As pop philosopher Malcolm Gladwell points out in his book ‘outliers’, the largest part of success is most often luck. When luck combines with talent, that’s when you see true greatness. Due to its very nature, F1 has always rewarded luck over talent, it just so happens that the most powerful form of ‘luck’ at present happens to be whether you were born wealthy. This is unfortunate for a sport.

          As for Lance Stroll; as much as I cannot abide his personal manner and lack of tact at times (though he is still very young and can be given a bit slack for that reason alone), for me, I would say the jury is still out when it comes to his racing talent for the numerous reasons discussed in this thread.

          1. Building a bit on your point, its crazy the pressure young kids receive in racing, especially when coming from low economic backgrounds. I mean Hamilton and Ocon’s parents sacrificed everything to give them a chance at racing! Do the kids feel this immense pressure to perform? Do the rich kids feel the same kind of pressure given that their family’s financial future isn’t in jeopardy? I always felt something should be done in regards to this… (more sponsorships?, automatic racing seats for winners of championships?).

    2. There are no truly dreadful drivers left in F1. It did happen right up to the 90’s when guys would get beaten by 4 to 5 seconds a lap in the same car by a semi descent team mate. Most never qualified. Even a few years ago you had drivers probably 2 to 3 sec slower than quality drivers. So thanks God for that. Ericsson and Stroll are very fast and capable quality race drivers. Would beat most racing drivers in formula racing. Problem is, they are maybe top 100 or maybe top 500 in the world. That’s really good, and remember there are plenty of brilliant drivers in other series who probably could be decent in f1. I actually think Stroll has raw talent and could develop in a top 50. (Some might say Ericsson has learned his trade those recent years). But you (and that’s probably me and you) want the top 20 driving F1 cars, and certainly don’t want a top 100 replacing somebody who annoys Perez and went toe to toe with Verstappen (so definitely a top 20)

      1. Yeah it’s an interesting topic. If my dad were rich enough to allow me to live out my F1 dreams then I would be doing exactly the same thing. And I think many of us would as well.
        It’s cringeworthy to see it happen but F1 has set an environment where this is possible so I don’t really blame Stroll for taking advantage of it.
        If he was truly awful and a danger to others then it’s a different story.

        1. to be blunt, Stroll would be the pants off of any one of us talking here. I don’t say he’s a bad driver compared to a normal person, I’m saying he’s not a good driver compared to the top 0.0001% of the world population that could realistically compete in F1. That’s a high standard to meet and even with every possible advantage coming up, he still falls short of that.

          1. Yes, indeed, he could beat half the grid a few years ago, when drivers weren’t on average so competitive.

            He also is still not a completely known quantity, I mean, he was 7 tenths off massa, which is bad, but he also scored 40 vs 43 points or something, even if luckier than massa that year he had an average williams.

            So he surely should be able to do decently with a force india, a comparison with someone like perez, a massa-level driver at his prime, would give us more info, he might have improved since his first year, we just could hardly compare him given he changed team mate.

    3. With regards to Stroll, he definitely isn’t a “bad” driver. Is he up to par with the rest of the field? Well, as stated, he was about .5sec of Massa in his rookie year. Now compare that to Hamilton who was beating Alonso his rookie year (plus Alonso was more competitive in 2007 than Massa). So compared to the top of the field he seems to not be very close (though that might not be 100% accurate as it is harder to drive a bad car (current Williams) than it is to drive a good car (2007 mcclaren), in this regard experienced drivers (Massa) will have a greater probability of driving a bad car better than a rookie largely due to experience with various kinds of cars and setups, something that rookies (especially someone who was moved quickly through the feeder series such as Stroll) do not have). However this year was a different story. He has struggled to out qualify his rookie teammate (Sirotkin, though he was highly rated coming out of F2) in a bar car but has generally raced better than him. Some question that Williams is favoring Stroll, but that is not fair to assume. With all this information we can conclude that we really do not know enough about Stroll’s driving to fairly gauge his ability. Next year when he is at Force India with Perez will be a much more accurate representation of his true skill/talent. That is not to say that without money it would be very unlikely that Stroll has a F1 seat, but you can say that about many drivers (as talented as someone is, money is required to compete in motorsport (think Senna). We have to wait to find out but for now I would put him as below average but not the very worst.

      1. We can’t forget Hamilton had over 20,000km of f1 testing before entering f1, and in a top 2 car, completely logical that he should be fast straight away. No young driver will ever have that benefit ever again in f1.

        1. I’m glad to see there was some rational conversation in this thread.

          I watch F3 Euro and Stroll”s campaign was pretty solid. Of course he was massively assisted by financial support that others didn’t get. But, as you mention, so was Lewis Hamilton with the McLaren Mercedes drive.

          What matters is that when you get that support, the fastest car the best engineers, etc… is that you turn that into results. Hamilton did. Under extreme pressure and expectation.

          But this is kinda where the comparisons between “pay drivers” with manufacturer backing and “pay drivers” with daddy’s chequebook differ… if one fails to win a single championship, they’re dropped for the next kid in line.

  5. +1 to all the above with the caveat to praxis’ comment that the reason I feel sad is Lance’s total lack of touch with reality.

    1. Yeah, sad but true

  6. Bring your kid to work day

    1. @johnmilk COTD. Brilliant.

      1. @johnmilk
        Too funny mate!!

  7. With more money than common sense the Stroll family decided to play a real life real time version of ‘game of life’ and Lance landed on the space ‘become a racing driver’.

    Let’s hope he lands on the space ‘Mid-life crisis start new career’ soon.

  8. It is just the way in formula 1.
    Ocon was technically a pay driver too.

  9. Has anyone heard what Williams will get or are requesting to letting him out of his contract?

    1. Andy in Atlanta
      28th August 2018, 23:36

      More importantly, does he have a contract with them OR do they have a contract with him? He may not be driving on the “usual” contract most drivers have as he is paying for his seat and may have the right to break the contract or leave at any time. It’s not like they went out to get his services to win them anything, he bought their services to enter F1, big difference in who has the leverage.

    2. Williams couldn’t care less if Lance drives their car or not. What Williams will ensure is that they receive every cent due to them based on the contracts. It is likely that Lawrence is paying for a full season ($35 million) regardless of whether Lance is driving or not. There may also be a penalty on top of the $35 million if Lance leaves early. Some have suggested there may be car performance clauses in the contracts. Not a chance. The scarce resource in the Stroll Williams arrangement is the F1 seat, not the “rich boy who wants to race in F1”.

  10. Don’t care any more, just get him out of Williams so Kubica can have a go!

    1. Simply swap Stroll and Ocon. Williams should have a race off. Kubica v Ocon. Then Ocon would have seat, fair and square.

      1. Fair & square would be to allow Kubica the rest of the season to get his hand in (hah) and to have that race-off next year.
        My feeling is that Ocon will find a seat elsewhere in any case.

      2. I agree and have been saying it for ages, it will likely be a straight Stroll/Ocon swap what with the Mercedes connection and all.

        1. No it won’t, kubica has a contract to drive if stroll or sirotkin are not available, that is the way he described it himself at Spa in an interview. That is why people are linking him yo Vandoornes seat or no drive until next year at Williams or mclaren.

        2. The Brazilian F1 media over here (pretty reliable, as far as these things go) said the same as Mr. Collantine said, Ocon will indeed drive for McLaren. The swap won’t happen overnight, though, since McLaren needs time to fit the car to Ocon’s height, and the new Force India wants Ocon to grab some championship points first. So, no straight swap, and Kubica indeed racing for Williams later this year.

  11. most haters know he’s not a bad driver overall. its that he just spent his entire junior career in selected championships with low competition driving the best equipment money could buy. then made the jump from f3 to f1, foregoing at least a year of gp2/f2 or FR3.5 or DTM where he could’ve honed his skills & become a much better driver. even verstappen, who everyone says is brilliant, has struggled to find the performance level & maturity that gp2/f2 would’ve taught him. Plus, with all the hotshoes in f2 right now, russell, devires, norris, alban, markelov, latifi, mehren, etc and the newer graduates leclerc, gasly, vandoorne in F1 along with the prior group of perez, hamilton, grosjean, sirotkin, hulkenberg plus ricciardo, sainz from 3.5 & Ocon via DTM. It’s deluded, out of touch and insulting to most people that the Strolls think that they will accomplish much in F1 results-wise ever, wherever he ends up driving. Even more bothersome is when his supporters blindingly gloss over facts, because of their susceptibility to wealth and status, when in reality there are at least 20 drivers with more talent & raw speed on the grid or on the verge of being pushed off by him. Some even have a few bucks up their sleeve also. But no matter, because on the business side they will be fine, buy a ride here, buy a team there. sell up after they’ve networked their way into higher social & business circles. Now, in conclusion, what’s not to hate about any of that?

  12. Paul (@frankjaeger)
    28th August 2018, 23:58

    I bet Ocon can hear the Jaws music as Stroll meanders closer and closer to his seat.

    I think Lance gets a disproportionate amount of criticism for his driving ability. Yeah, he’s not the best driver out there, and maybe not even in the top 10 on the grid at the moment but he’s got some credentials. 2016 F3 Champion, albeit his second year, where he destroyed everyone else with his points tally; a podium on a considerably tough street circuit in a Williams, more than what could be said for revered drivers such as Hulkenberg; and a front row start at Monza.

    I’m not about to start singing his praises or support him but people seem to write him off way too quickly. He might not be super talented compared to some of the heavyweights but he’s got something, his results can’t be coincidence.

    I don’t enjoy watching this pay driver scenario play out but you gotta give the boy his due in some respects. Ideally, F1 should be more-or-less a meritocracy but that’s another conversation.

    1. Stroll’s pretty talent-free. To have him displace Ocon at FI is a travesty. Would it be OK if Papa Stroll could afford to buy Red Bull and then pushed Max out? Lance got lucky once to finish 3rd in Baku due to very fortunate track position in safety car periods and a race stoppage. No way a Williams, particularly driven by Lance, would be on the podium without such luck.

      1. His dad has money and the family have used it to their advantage because F1 has allowed it to happen.
        Can you really blame him? If my dad could buy me a seat and I could become a semi-decent F1 driver as a result then I, and I expect many of his detractors as well, would do the exact same.
        F1 is a dream for many of us and if the rules allowed a rich Dad to put his some there then, yeah it’s not ideal and it looks bad but if it’s allowed then I would be doing the same if it allowed me to live out my F1 dreams.

        1. Money can’t buy respect and credibility, only Lance himself can earn it with decent races and regularly beating a high quality teammate. If he does that, fair enough, he bought his way in but earns his keep. If he continues to under-perform he needs to step aside and allow a better driver the seat in his father’s team. He’d get respect for that.

      2. Stroll’s pretty talent-free

        This is not a statement supported by the evidence.

        Would it be OK if Papa Stroll could afford to buy Red Bull and then pushed Max out?

        Would Lance have crashed as much as Max in the first 6 races of the year? Probably not.

        Lance got lucky once to finish 3rd in Baku

        And his Monza qualifying last year? Just luck too? He won championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Luck too?

        No way a Williams, particularly driven by Lance, would be on the podium without such luck.

        No driver would put that Williams on the podium without luck so it’s disingenuous of you to suggest that that is somehow proof of Stroll being bad. Lance drove well and didn’t crash twice under the safety car like Vettel or bin it in the wall like Nico “couldn’t get a podium if his life depended on it” Hulkenberg.

        He may not be the best driver ever to grace F1 but who is? Ericsson? Vandorne? Hartley? Grosjean? Perez? There’s certainly no justification for the hatred he’s recieving, including some downright disgusting comments which thankfully have now been removed.

        1. Max did not crash as much in the first six races.. you probably include the free pratcices in your somewhat distorted view.
          Baku for Stroll was luck..the broke suspension on Massa’s car helped him.
          ( and the simple fact all other faster drivers had to retire for several reasons)
          Talent free? No, but very little talent and (his father) lots of money.

          1. Thanks. Saves me having to respond.

          2. Well @greenflag if your reply was going to be as pointless as erikje’s then you’d needed have responded anyway :)

            Max did not crash as much in the first six races.. you probably include the free pratcices in your somewhat distorted view

            You going to say practice crashes don’t matter? *cough*Monaco*cough*

            Regardless he still crashed more than Stroll.

            Baku for Stroll was luck … and the simple fact all other faster drivers had to retire for several reasons

            Those several reasons include drivers crashing, Stroll didn’t.
            Hulkenberg has less podiums than Stroll, in big part because when the podium opportunity is there he throws it away. If Stroll is talent free how bad is Hulkenberg!?

            As for Monza Qualifying? No comeback? Not going to write that one off as luck too?

            I’ve not see a valid reason from anyone for why Stroll gets so much hate.

      3. No way a Williams, particularly driven by Lance, would be on the podium without such luck.

        You could say the same for most of Perez’s podiums too though.

        1. True, but Perez is as fast as Ocon and many teams would be happy to have him drive for them. Not many teams would want Stroll without his money.

          1. Pérez was also 21 by the time he joined F1 and he hardly set the world alight, yet he still didn’t get the hate Stroll did.

            In the 3 years before moving to F1 Stroll won every championship he was in, beating Mercedes junior and current F2 leader George Russell in F3 in the process … unless you are trying to claim they are “talent free” too? What more should Stroll have done to warrant a promotion to F1?

    2. We wouldn’t hear this much moaning if Stroll were replacing Magnussen or Ericsson, both of whom get outperformed by their teammates on a regular basis. We might not even have heard this much moaning if it were Perez who were replaced.

      Right now, Ocon’s getting all this support because of his performance over the last season and a half in F1, as well as the fact that Ocon’s losing his seat instead of Perez not due to performance, but because Perez/’s management cleverly engineered a deal to secure his seat.

  13. “Sergio, Lance is faster than you..”

    “Are you fxxking kidding me..?!”

  14. Yeah, yeah, yeah but what about Mercedes flexible rear wing at Spa. I swear James Allison will bury Merc.

    Sf16-h …aha. pure incompetence or deliberite. Hmmm.

    1. So James is a Ferrari Mole… interesting thought ;)

  15. Mark in Florida
    29th August 2018, 3:53

    I once heard an old saying about the racing game. Hey! You want to make a small fortune in racing? Start with a large one. If papa Stroll has plenty of money that he wants to waste so be it. Formula One is definitely a rich mans game. Unfortunately pay drivers in one form or another are now the norm in racing. You either need to have a rich daddy or a heck of a lot of sponsors to fund your ride with a team that’s not a manufacturer based one. This is just a sign of the times, obscene personal fortunes lead to obscene (to some) actions. I say give Lance a chance in a few decent car then judge him. He won’t be able to hide behind a bad car, he will have to perform. Ocon will land on his feet somewhere, he’s too talented to just go away.

    1. Agreed. I understand he’s bought his seat but I don’t understand the vitriol. He’s not the first pay driver and he won’t be the last. He’s no Senna but cmon, he’s also not as bad as some people foaming at the mouth are suggesting.
      Ok, pay drivers look bad but go after F1 for allowing it to happen instead of an average driver who just happens to be playing the game.

  16. Sensible of Force India to keep Ocon as long as possible. By Sunday evening they should’ve moved up more places in the WCC, then sadly only one car is likely to score points from there forward.

  17. The haters will hate… But damn i wish i had a Billionaire daddy to buy me an f1 team… Gues we all cant win that 1st lotto!

  18. Driving in circles
    29th August 2018, 10:49

    The guy is a former formula three champion and he came third in Baku. his race pace was much better against Massa than his qualifying pace. He might surprise a few people in a more decent car. Even Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher started as pay drivers…

  19. I cant wait to see Kubica replace Stroll, and he Will replace him this season if stroll goes to force India, as that is part of his 3rd driver contract. Not looking good for him next season though, Markelov is said to be bringing money, so 2 Russians at Williams next season. I’m hoping Kubica drives well enough to convince the team that money from getting points will equal out pay driver money, as Kubica has sponsorship also, just not as much as the Russians. Who knows, if he is not 3rd driver anymore, Lotos (polish petroleum company) may well offer more money to Williams also.

  20. From the Stroll’s point of view, they are trying to make a world champion driver in their family, they are living the dream. Others would do the same if they had the money they had. Worth a try right?

  21. Sky were reporting on Twitter late yesterday that Perez was in talks with McLaren over a possible return. I could see this making a lot of sense from both teams point of view.

    Perez would go to McLaren allowing Ocon to stay at Force India (not now I know), and Vandoorne staying on the grid with a place at either Williams or Torro Rosso.

    I am not sure it would be the best choice for Sergio though.

  22. The poor young kid (pardon the pun) is the most hated man in F1 and none of it is his fault.
    He has won many championships before but then many will say only because Dad got him better machinery, fair call, he did have an advantage there.

    But the kid can obviously drive a car fast, to the extent he is in top 20 in F1 we don’t know yet. For Lawrence to get him to F1, well that’s ok (maybe) but if he buys him a seat to topple out a great talent like Ocon (who is up there with Max) that’s not on. But its F1- as I have said before I would do the best for my son if I had a few billion in the bank. But I don’t like it!

    I am thinking forward 5 years- I would love to see Ocon lift the WDC trophy and can think I won this despise all the other stuff- would be a good day.

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