Lance Stroll, Williams, Sochi Autodrom, 2018

Stroll: No “burned bridges” with Ocon

2018 F1 season

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Lance Stroll is pleased his friendship with Esteban Ocon is enduring despite being set to take his Formula 1 seat.

The Williams driver is widely expected to be confirmed as Ocon’s replacement at Force India next year. George Russell is taking Stroll’s seat at Williams and Ocon looks increasingly likely to be left without a drive.

However Ocon came to Stroll’s defence following the criticism his rival has faced on social media. Ocon posted a picture of the two together and urged his supporters not to vilify Stroll.

“I did that because Lance is my best mate in the paddock and we have a great relationship since a long time,” Ocon explained in Russia. “What’s happening it would be like if it was his fault but it’s not his fault or anything.

“He is working hard as much as I do to be in F1. In F1 everybody’s working hard to be here. It’s not an easy world. Of course he comes from a different background but inside we have the same motivation and the same passion for the sport. I want to be able to share that everyone.

“To just see all the hate I saw on the social media, it’s not normal. I think it’s better to show your support more than hate.”

Ocon’s comments are an example of “sportsmanship and friendship”, said Stroll.

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“There’s business, there’s politics in Formula 1,” he said. “I have my management team, he has his management team, we’re both trying to do what’s best for our careers, and there’s our friendship.

Esteban Ocon, Force India, Sochi Autodrom, 2018
Ocon: “All the hate I saw, it’s not normal”
“We competed together in karts, we fought wheel-to-wheel in karts, he was in Prema Formula Three, he won the championship, I came in. We’ve always had a good friendship and it’s good to see that bridge hasn’t burned.”

Stroll, whose billionaire father Lawrence has financed his progress into F1 and invested in Force India, says he is used to the criticism his career has received.

“It’s understandable from where I come from, my background, the criticism that I face,” he said. “It’s always been the case throughout my career in Formula Three, Formula Four, coming into Formula 1. I know that there are a lot of envious and jealous people, realistically, from where I come from, the majority of people don’t wish me well.

“Which is OK because I know that the people that are around me that support me that’ve been with me throughout this journey know the reality of the situation and those are the people that I listen to, those are the people I surround myself with.

“The rest is just background noise. I try to stay in my little bubble, block this noise out.”

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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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47 comments on “Stroll: No “burned bridges” with Ocon”

  1. “I know that there are a lot of envious and jealous people, realistically, from where I come from, the majority of people don’t wish me well.”

    Not sure envy or jealousy is well describing the situation. It is more that he occupies a seat where we the -often paying- audience could have gotten an exciting & competitive driver. So, would rather have seen his dad adding an entire team to the grid.

    1. @mayrton
      That’s a great point, Lawrence could do a new team and get more cars on the grid, its certainly what’s needed.

    2. His dad saved a team that was on the brink of collapse.
      Maybe Mazepin would have saved it if Stroll had not, but then too there probably would not be a seat for Ocon.
      Lance will (probably) take the seat, but that vacates his seat at Williams. He can’t help that Mercedes prefers to promote Russell to F1 rather than retaining Ocon.
      Blame Mercedes. Ocon is their driver.

      1. Both are their drives. Blame Toto for not firing Bottas! So really, blame Lewis…

      2. I agree. I’d go further and say the plan early on was for Lance to be driving at Force India, which would have left Esteban without a seat, but that hasn’t happened. That plan seems to have been quietly shelved until the end of the season. Undoubtedly Lawrence Stroll purchased the team with the goal of having Lance drive there, so one can’t be angry if that does happen.
        I think it’s easier to for a driver to get a seat if he has a seat. So far this year I see 5 drivers have swapped teams and there are 3 new drivers (I’ve included Kvyat in this as he doesn’t have a current seat).
        As I understand it George Russell still hasn’t got a contract at Williams, and we don’t know the fate of Sergey, so we might still see Esteban there.

    3. @mayrton
      + infinite on that

      1. Mazapiens are kinda open mafia/gangster type no better than mallya… so team would fall apart quicker than mallya was in charge…

        Even for a billionere it would not be feasible logical to create a new team from scratch! It is unchartered territory. Most people suggesting new team have no idea how to set up a business. If that was easy RedBulls would have set up entire new company… they also bought teams…

      2. @mayrton Oh I’m sure much of the negativity toward Stroll is from envy and jealousy, as well as the thinking that a better driver could be in his seat. However, that is speculation, as Williams cannot afford top drivers, so anyone in Stroll’s seat would also be an unproven entity. Sirotkin is showing us by his lack of results, as has been confirmed by Kubica, that the car is terrible. So I guess to you anybody but Stroll, Sirotkin, or Kubica would be guaranteed to be more exciting and competitive in that garbage for a car.

        As to Lawrence starting a new team? How about not dictating to somehow how they should spend their money? Do you see all kinds of entities lined up to be in F1 right now, while they’re about to go through a ground up overhaul? As it is he and his group have saved two seats in F1. If Lance is that bad he should be in a half-decent car (and only that) next season, so we are going to see. If he is that bad even his Dad will not be able to hide that nor retain him for very long.

        1. When Mercedes entered F1 they didn’t start a new team they bought into an existing one.
          Why? I is much cheaper to buy expertise than to create it from scratch. Why hold Stroll
          to standards that even a company like Mercedes are wise enough to sidestep????

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          15th October 2018, 13:07

          @Robbie Stroll fared very poorly last year against Massa. There were a couple of races where he was better but that was it.

          1. @freelittlebirds A young rookie vs the most experienced on he grid, engrained at Williams. And what did FM manage…double Stroll’s points.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            15th October 2018, 14:17

            @Robbie actually the points difference was 43 vs 40 in favor of Massa but he was unlucky. If I recall correct, it was qualifying that hurt Stroll. I think Vandoorne’s delta to Alonso in qualifying is smaller than Stroll’s and he’s in dire straits now.

            If Stroll had stayed another season with Massa who was forced into retirement to salvage Stroll’s career and performed the way he has been, wouldn’t Stroll be out the door?

            Of course, it’s extremely hard for most people to like Stroll given his pedigree. One of the reasons people like Lewis Hamilton is that he came from humble beginnings. I watched a documentary that talked about Vandoorne’s background and difficulties entering the sport and it’s hard not to root for the guy after watching that.

          3. @freelittlebirds Lol don’t know why I thought it was 40-18. Yeah for sure FM was unlucky, and wasn’t Stroll taken out in his first three races in F1 all through no fault of his own? Not sure if FM would have done much better this year, that’s how bad the car seems to be. And that’s really my general point. I think last year the car was obviously troubled, and it seems this year it has been even worse. And drivers are coloured by their cars. Next year’s FI should be a better car, while still no doubt having it’s issues, but as long as Stroll can bring his performances up to mid-field, which is all the car will likely allow, then we can judge from there.

    4. I think envy and jealousy describe the situation very well. His Dad’s money has only bought him an opportunity. The money his Dad brings would be pointless if Lance was costing Williams significant time. He has shown enough to be given more time at least. Maybe not at the expense of Ocon but let’s see What he does in that FI before condemning the guy. It is very much envy from the great unwashed that is causing this unfounded hysteria around stroll. There have been much worse drivers in F1….hell…there are currently worse drivers in F1.

    5. I find all the negativity around Lance Stoll a little odd, yes he has a rich daddy that has financed his racing career (and he is not the first) but lets not forget you don’t just buy a seat in F1, you do need to have a fair amount of talent, at least enough to get your super licence and it is hard to achieve and shine when you are driving the biggest dog on the grid, strange that Sirotkin does not get the same stick.
      Give the lad a break and see how he gets on in a better car and IMO a better organised team.

  2. I hate to be cynical but isn’t this likely a clever move from Ocons PR team?
    Portray him as the really nice guy who holds no grudges or hard feelings. The Stroll haters will still hate anyway and Esteban looks like the poor suffering martyr!

    Ok so I am cynical ;P

    1. You are too cynical. I’ve watched most of the drivers parades and kids autograph signings on the love stream and Ocon and Stroll are always chatting and getting along very well.

      1. Live stream!!! Sorry! Edit required :)

        1. Oh no – I so wish it WAS the love stream!!!

        2. Ah, you had me wondering where to find that F1 love steam – no, no, stReam – @john-h!

  3. Those are the people that I listen to, those are the people I surround myself with.
    “The rest is just background noise. I try to stay in my little bubble, block this noise out.”

    So he lives in his own world, and doesn’t listen to any outside input but listens only tot he positive sounds a of small group of sycophants….
    There are several words to describe people like that….
    Dumb and ignorant come foremost to my mind

    1. >Dumb and ignorant come foremost to my mind

      So Steve Jobs was dumb and ignorant? Despite building at one point the most valuable company in human history? Surrounding yourself with people who believe in you is very, very important. I’d never call anybody stupid for ignoring the masses who just want to shout insults from the sidelines.

      Stroll likely isn’t the next Schumacher or Hamilton, but history is yet to be written, and there’s only one way to find out.

      I’m no fan of F1 being structured the way it is, and I’ll happily criticise some decisions to make a point. But there’s no reason to personally attack someone, just for getting to that level with whatever rules are in place that allows them to.

      1. I’m sure Jobs wasn’t dumb and ignorant but I consider this a dumb comment because I’m also sure Jobs didn’t hide inside a bubble of sycophants… Can’t imagine why you made this connection… but it certainly seems dumb to try to equate these two people…
        Weird… ;)

        1. >I’m also sure Jobs didn’t hide inside a bubble of sycophants… Can’t imagine why you made this connection…

          So his parents paying his way through dropping out of college and allowing him to start a business with literally a bubble of sycophants in their garage, while everyone else he tried to get funding from or sell his product to told him he wasn’t good enough; isn’t remotely comparable? You don’t have much of an imagination…

          1. Hahaha – you might be right about my lack of imagination… but Jobs’ subsequent success (which as always in discussions of this nature, you don’t mention) might suggest it was the people who failed to recognise his qualities (IBM, etc.) who really lacked imagination.
            Is it possible you are grinding a personal axe here… ;)

      2. Steve Jobs tried to treat pancreatic cancer with homeopathy. If that’s not dumb and ignorant, I’d like to know what is.

        1. Considering that Pancreatic cancer is considered incurable, perhaps banking on some placebo oomph isn’t as dumb and ignorant as some might think.

        2. Not to diminish Steve Jobs’s approach to pancreatic cancer, but this is one nasty ailment with a survival rate around 5%, even with the best of medical science. One problem is without survivors, there is little interest in fund raising and research. His non standard approach is completely understandable given the nature of what he was facing.
          Reguardless, Apple is an amazing success story, one that literally hinged on a single TV Superbowl add. The rest as they say, is history.
          Hats off to Ocon for standing up for a friend and fellow competitor. We don’t see enough of this sort of thing.

      3. @skipgamer this is the furthest reach I think I’ve ever read. By that logic, “literally” every person has a bubble of sycophants; unless you have 0 friends and/or caring family members. Don’t be wilfully obtuse…

        1. If you think any caring friend or family member is going to give literally everything to see you succeed as those around Stroll do, well you’re just an incredibly lucky person…

    2. @melkurion (@melkurion) You obviously are an expert on the subject as it always takes one to recognize one.
      Stroll’s first season was exceptionally good. You are conveniently ignoring that fact.

      1. Oh now come on, there’s no need to embarrass yourself for stroll. He’s doing fine.

    3. I don’t know @melkurion, but I am pretty sure that both Rosberg and Button as well as Lewis Hamilton have mentioned surrounding themselves with a supportive team in helping them achieve better than before and enabling them to beat their team mates.

      When you think about it, if you want to achieve results it makes incredible sense to stop thinking about negatives and focus on positives, doesn’t it?

  4. Envious? Not really. If there is a pair of shoes I don’t want in the paddock, it’s Lance’s.

    He came in F1 the wrong way, a bit like Verstappen. Except that one was promoted by a F1 team and three other thanks to dad’s money. For both it was make or break. And despite one of them proving he has his place in F1, it’s hard to argue that both would have benefited from a year in F2.

    F1 should be for the best possible drivers based on their skills and anyone who do not have the records to back their claim for an F1 seat would be criticized as much as Stroll.

    1. @jeanrien Yes F1 should be for the best possible drivers, but it hasn’t really been that for a while thanks to the way it has evolved such that lesser teams no longer have a choice but to hire pay drivers. You are criticizing Stroll when the real criticism should be toward BE and F1 for his and their own greed and self-interests that have not put F1 first. Ideally F1 should be much harder such that young drivers simply aren’t ready until they have truly proven themselves ready, but it should also be operated such that teams do not become desperate to survive such that they will take any drivers with big cheque books. I’m not saying Stroll is that as he did have plenty of qualifications to be in F1 and there is a very good chance he has been handcuffed by his car. We will see when he is in a better car. Even Alonso can only do so much with a dog.

    2. I was lead to believe that F1 has always had Pay Drivers, so what’s wrong with it now? As Dieter (@dieterrencken) said in his article on Force India, the golden rule of F1 teams is to stay solvent. You’re not going to start a race if you aren’t solvent. So does it matter whether they get money from a driver, the driver’s family, the driver’s favourite sponsor, or a sponsor who supports the team?
      As the saying goes, “Where there’s money there’s politics”, so I wouldn’t be surprised if every driver on the grid is there because somewhere in the background is money.

  5. Ok Lance , I say fair call mate,
    I want to see you in a car better than a shopping trolley and see how you go against Checo ,
    I wish you no ill luck mate, but you gotta deliver because your Dad is a business man and he will drop your ars# pretty quick if its costing him points money, So Lance, get in there mate,

  6. joe pineapples
    14th October 2018, 11:10

    “hate I saw on the social media, it’s not normal”

    Newsflash to Ocon, it is very normal

  7. I’m annoyed Ocon might not be on the grid next year but I’m actually rather optimist with how the grid is gearing up to be. Leclerc and Gasly have proven to be good additions. Now we’re getting Norris and Russel. Giovanazzi is not the worst thing to come from the ranks and while i believe he probably is not the best thing to arrive on the grid next year, the fact that he pushes Ericson towards the end of an already exceptionally long career might explain why nobody cries about nationality preference.

    Who’se left to boot out ? Grosjean, Magnussen and Stroll most here would cite (and really, the two first are of another caliber) are all podium finishers so there’s at the very least talent (and in Grosjean’s case, speed too). Raikkonen might get old but he’s a world champion.

    If Sirotkin is out (in favour of Ocon ?) then I’m pretty positive that all of next year’s grid would be able to get multiple podiums a year in a top3 car.

    1. So I’d say as a whole, the grid is pretty much already one of the most homogeneous in history and it might get even better. I’d hope we could say the same about the cars really.

      1. The cars / teams are what will indeed destroy any worthwhile competition, but they don’t care, they are here to make money.

  8. While I don’t like stroll, it’s not for the amount of money he has, it’s due to what he does with it, as in take away a seat from a better driver.

    However, it’s to be said that, while I was one of the biggest stroll criticizers early this season, saying that as he was 7 tenths off massa, the main step downwards for williams were the drivers, I think it might not be necessarily true: after all, ok that he got lucky and got 15 points in baku 2015, but he still scored 40 to massa’s 43 if I remember right, the rest of the points is still a decent amount, not vandoorne-like (as in disappointing).

    So if he could do a decent amount of points last year but not this year, what changed? The car, especially considering he after all is doing better than sirotkin, who isn’t that much less experienced than him.

    So I think the williams car is getting worse year by year since 2014 and while massa would certainly do better than stroll atm, I’m not sure how much he could do, as this car seems legitimately bad, just like mclaren in their worst tracks this year.

    1. Therefore I think stroll, if given a car like force india, which is supposedly better than 2017 williams in relation to the field, SHOULD be able to get good enough results, then matching perez will always be a hard task, or ocon if he were his team mate.

    2. Massa was an retired driver doing a one time job last year and still was much quicker than Stroll.
      Points wise, it was close, Massa had some very bad luck last year, but in terms of speed, it was a massacre.

      And now we see Sirotkin being the faster of the two drivers at Williams.
      The fact that the car is really bad made most people forget about him, but next year paired with Perez, my bet is that he will be outclassed so badly, that everything he went through on his rookie year will come back.

      He completes races and doesn’t crash as much anymore, but keeps destroying tyres while being slow. He still isn’t ready, but now it doesn’t matter anymore, he is already there.

  9. I can’t stand when someone in a priviliged position calls out others for being ‘envious and jealous’. Is it so terrible to acknowledge how lucky you are and just rise above the supposed hate?

    I had no problem with Lance Stroll previously but he’s just completely aliented me and I suspect anyone else who was still giving him the benefit of the doubt.

  10. Maybe Lance should realise that people criticise him because of his lack of talent compared to others on the grid who are facing their careers’ abyss. “Envy/jealousy” I’m not so sure- probably from a minority- but F1 fans are intelligent and can spot a fish out of water when they see one. Lance struggles to rub shoulders with even the so so driverslike Magnussen/Grosjaen in comparison.

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