Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Albert Park, 2019

Racing Point believe “gutsy” Stroll will get more credit

2019 Australian Grand Prix

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Lance Stroll’s critics will give him more credit on the strength of his performance at Racing Point, the team’s bosses believe.

The 20-year-old moved to Racing Point this year after his billionaire father Lawrence purchased the team’s assets last season. Stroll’s wealth has led some to label him a ‘pay driver’, but his new team principal Otmar Szafnauer believes “over time that’ll change.”

“He’ll get some credit. You don’t win all those championships coming through the junior formulae if you can’t drive a car. He’s won everything. Our expectation was that he was good.”

Stroll climbed seven places to finished ninth in yesterday’s race. “I think qualifying was unfortunate,” said Szafnauer after Sunday’s race. “He was up on Sergio [Perez] in qualifying until he hit Grosjean so he would’ve made Q3.

“But today for me when he was in clear air – because he was running the opposite strategy – he put some great lap times in. And then when he came under pressure, from Kvyat especially and then Kvyat and Gasly, he didn’t put a foot wrong. So a good drive.

The team’s technical director Andrew Green praised Stroll’s race performance.

“I think he put in the seventh-fastest lap of the race,” said Green. “When we asked him to push, he pushed without mistake. And then he held his position very maturely, it was good see.”

Szafnauer predicted the team will have to cope with Stroll and Perez battling with each other in future races.

“He can pedal a car. It’ll be interesting because he’s a gutsy racer too like Checo so I’m sure there’ll be races where it’s one versus the other.

“But that’s what we need, we need two good drivers. And we’ve got them.”

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47 comments on “Racing Point believe “gutsy” Stroll will get more credit”

  1. Time to keep an open mind and see how the boy does over a season in what is hopefully an ok car. If he was as crap as many on here believe, then todays result could not have happened.

    1. Hold the phone, does the director of RP say nice things in public about the son of his boss? Un-be-lie-va-ble. I’m gonna believe everything he says.

      Yesterday’s result was all down to the team giving Stroll a decent strategy and wrecking Pérez’s. It means nothing. Two straight years of worthless performances, on the other hand, mean a lot.

    2. Yes it could. Stroll was just as slow in qualifying as two years ago, but he gained several positions on track thanks to Giovinazzi slowing down the cars that pitted early. Still a competent drive by Stroll though.

      1. He was slow in qualifying because he ran into traffic. Interestingly his fastest race lap was faster than Vettel’s fastest, whatever that means.
        I do get annoyed when people said his Father bought him the team, as his Father has been involved in racing for a long time, so it was an obvious thing for him to buy anyway. Of course it would have been interesting if he hadn’t hired his son (who won F3 in the same team Ocon did but with more victories).
        I really don’t know how good Stroll is, but I don’t think his Father’s wealth should make my mind up (plus he has had a podium and been second on the grid in a Williams).
        I think, like Football, we can just watch the season develop and see how good he is…

      2. @krommenaas, to be fair, I would say that the team do have a argument that Grosjean probably stopped Stroll getting through to Q2, artificially lowering his qualifying position.

        If you look at the sector times he was setting in Q1, he was on course for a time around 1m22.9s lap time – slightly better than that of Grosjean and Raikkonen, and possibly even ahead of Perez and Ricciardo. He might not have made Q3, but he probably would have made it into Q2 without Grosjean getting in the way.

  2. Most negative comments about LS are based on jalousie I think. Indeed, you can’t win all the junior classes if you don’t have talent. We all know now, that the Williams was absolutely shocking to drive as well, but under the rights circumtances he did good things with it, like the Monza 2017 qualifying in the wet. And yes, the podium in Baku was down to luck as well, but a lot of other drivers should have been up there, and they weren’t. He is not a Hamilton or Verstappen, but not bad either.

    1. José Lopes da Silva
      18th March 2019, 12:34

      If you own a team and have other drivers working for you, you can.

      1. I don’t understand how owning a team and ‘have other drivers working for you’ can necessarily allow you to win entire classes. Wouldn’t you have to own all the teams in the class for that to be possible?

        1. People that hates stroll will not change opinion even if he won the whole thing.. Like this dude saying he got people working for him but still ignores that thing you said, shouldn’t he own everyone for that?

  3. MaliceCooper
    18th March 2019, 8:58

    Stroll has a nearly endless line of credit

    1. You have a nearly endless line of pointless comments.

  4. He did a good job no arguments from me.
    I think we all agree he is capable of driving the car he has and of not screwing up for no apparent reason like some past(or) drivers could do at times.

    The problem he has, and that he will never ever be free from, is the fact that a lot of people (me included) believe he has bought his drives rather than earned them and this means we will always roll our eyes and say “Yeah – whatever” when we are told he is a great driver.

    I wish the guy no ill will at all and look forward to his fast starts causing headaches for the other drivers and some interesting debates about his abilities ;)

    1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
      18th March 2019, 12:16

      +1 Agreed – Stroll drove a good race in AUS and finished ahead of his teammate.
      Yes, he does have a financial advantage and I tend to react like you do regarding pay drivers.
      But LS had a solid first outing for RP and like you say his driving in F1 has been generally clean so hats off. He might prove doubters (me included) wrong in the long run.

    2. On the other hand, if he is successful then he will have proved how flawed the system is with regard to picking decent drivers.

      But I suppose really, every driver is more or less a pay driver these days. It just so happens that his main sponsor has been his father, wheras Lewis’ main sponsor, for example, just happened to be Ron Dennis. Does it really make any difference that Lewis’ support came from an already established motor racing mogul, while Lance’s is coming from an aspiring motor racing mogul?

      I’m beginning to think that Lance’s father is sponsoring him because he is actually a good driver, rather than him being just the apple of his daddy’s eye. The fact that their relationship is father and son could just be coincidence. Maybe not early on, but certainly now. It wouldn’t make good business sense otherwise.

    3. I wish the guy no ill will at all and look forward to his fast starts causing headaches for the other drivers and some interesting debates about his abilities

      Was Ricciardo asked to comment on the start?

      ;)

      Indeed.

      1. I don’t understand. Did Stroll cause Checo to move toward Danny? .. I must have missed that. I don’t think Checo did anything really wrong. Time to go watch the replay again…

      2. Ricci should have known the pothole in his home track. There was no need to take evasive action the way he did.

  5. Stroll is underrated driver. Sure he is not in league of Leclerc or Ocon but he’s nowhere as bad as “pay driver” stigma labeled on him. Stroll weakness are he can’t do fast lap which hurts him most in qualifying and his race pace also only average. His strengths are he can do the race consistently, a great starter, and quite brilliant in truly wet condition (which almost useless in modern era because inn those conditions FIA prefer to just show the red flag).

    I think Stroll is similar (but still slower) than Perez. I’m sure if midfield performance stays relatively close throughout the year, he can consistently get points and finishing the year with his points not that much far below Perez.

    1. and quite brilliant in truly wet condition (which almost useless in modern era

      Maybe invest in FOM and relaunch the sprinkler ideas ;)
      @sonicslv

      1. @coldfly I’m honestly willing to trade DRS to sprinklers if we can’t choose neither. At least with sprinklers it’s an equal condition to all drivers, as long as everyone know when it’s going to be activated or truly randomized.

    2. Also Stroll stuck with Williams till the end of 2018 even when he could have jumped to Force India in middle of season. Its quite commendable that he stuck to his commitments till end of year rather than weasel his way out of a horrible car.

  6. He has some talent.
    The main problem is he’s not noticeably better that the man he replaced, and we all know he wouldn’t have been considered for the drive if his father hadn’t bought the team.

    If he can show he deserves his place by scoring consistently and being near his teammate’s level, I’m sure more people will come around to him.

  7. He is definitely not a crap driver. Even if your daddy spends millions for wind tunnel testing, new tires and engines to get most out of your f3 car the driver still has to be able to drive well enough to win. There are not lots of drivers who could win in f3 but there are many people who would have dominated the field with such car advantage.

    The weird thing used to be that you can buy wins in lower categories. Better tires, better engines, well set up car, no stress about money, endless amounts of testing, best training programs, 10 room motorhomes and helicopter rides to and from the venues. But if you are rich enough to buy an f1 team it seems you can buy better results in f1 as well. Stroll’s skill level is somewhere little above ericsson’s and below maldonado’s. Not the worst pay driver. Not even close.

    And nobody would say with a straight face force india would even think about having stroll drive their car unless his daddy hadn’t bought the team. The kid is not awful but when you have the whole world served you on a on silver platter it is easy to see how there can be legitimate questions about your skill level when you can and have bought every advantage ever available to a racing driver. And even with all those extra f1 tests with old f1 cars on go circuits he can barely stay ahead of his complete rookie team mate like sirotkin.

  8. Give me a break! Imagine what Esteban would have done in that car!

    Never mind Kvyat on worn rubber, losing 6 seconds, then fending off a charging Red Bull on fresh tires, yet he easily caught Stroll. It’s only now, with seemingly unlimited private testing, Lance now appears passable as a lower rung F1 driver.

    Lawrence’s money is forcing Otmar to do the same Lance PR crap Claire had to do.

    A couple really good comments in this thread already re: his dad’s monetary influence paving the way for him.

    Lance will always have the stigma because he occupies F1 seats more deserving drivers were denied. Ocon is yet the latest example of this.

    1. @72defender Ocon lost out to Perez last year didn’t he?

      So far we only had one race, in which Stroll was 8th and Perez 13th. Let’s wait and see.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        18th March 2019, 12:36

        You can’t evaluate midfield teams only for points. The most famous case is for Kvyat beating Ricciardo in 2015.

    2. folks go on like he is the only pay driver on the grid, or the only pay driver in history………. hate to break the bad news but f1 has had pay drivers in the past and will in the future………and there are not many non pay drivers that come from middle class back grounds. In most cases your not going racing without money coming form somewhere, it is a rich persons sport, get over it……

    3. Therefore you ( @72defender ) are saying that Otmar’s belief (see first line of the article) is incorrect and irrespective of how well (or otherwise) Lance ‘Ritchie Rich’ Stroll drives you will always view him with negativity

  9. I do not understand the stigma around ‘pay drivers’. Niki Lauda, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso all started as pay drivers. Not from wealthy families (Laudas family had connections) but showed talent and got support from sponsors, who paid to get them into F1.
    Having money or not does not determine your driving skills. But having money or connections with money can sometimes allow a skilled driver to race.
    Prince Bira was arguably a pay driver!
    What is going to be said about the young Schumacher? Is he going to be judged by his last name on whether he is good or not? After all he comes from both a wealthy background and his father is a 7 times WDC.
    I’m thinking some will always say he only got his chance at racing because of his last name no matter how good he turns out to be.

    1. Not from wealthy families (Laudas family had connections) but showed talent and got support from sponsors, who paid to get them into F1.

      You said it yourself. Those drivers got the money because they had the talent. Stroll and similar drivers just got the money, no talent involved in the process.

    2. I find it weird how willing some people are to spin the pay driver term to make it mean something totally different than it obviously means. A pay driver should be a term for drivers whose only reason being in f1 is their financial contributions. Schumachers and alonsos were hired because of their driving skills. Their financial contributions are results of their driving skills. Being a world champion does bring sponsorship but nobody hires alonso because he brings in sponsorship money. World champion may bring in sponsors but he also takes world champion salary. Alonso and schumacher were hired only because of their skill as driver and because of they were also champions.

      A driver like stroll or ericsson is or was someone whose only reason being in f1 was in his ability to bring in sponsorship money. Sponsorship money from his daddy. Not because of race results. As such they are pay drivers. It is not difficult term! Pay driver pays for his seat. If he did not pay he would not be there. Only reason he is there is his money: pay driver. Not a difficult term. Unless you are going to tell me schumacher and alonso were hired only because they bring in money and would not be able to find a seat otherwise…

      Personal wealth does not mean you are automatically pay driver. Senna was rich. He was not hired because of his parents’ millions and so he was not a pay driver. Lauda did buy his seat. That makes him pay driver for that year. After that he was hired because of his skill. His case is incredibly unique though and more of an exception in everything than a proof of some kind of world championship pay driver normality.

      1. @socksolid I find it weird how willing some people are to spin the pay driver term to make it mean something totally different than it obviously means. A pay driver should be a term for drivers whose only reason being in f1 is their financial contributions.

        You are getting your self tied up in cemantics, my point was quite clear. All of the drivers I mentioned paid to get into F1 either directly or though sponsorships. Without money changing hands they may not have gotten a start. Of course once they had proven their worth things changed.

        1. That’s because someone here thought these people fit in that definition.

          do not understand the stigma around ‘pay drivers’. Niki Lauda, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso all started as pay drivers.

      2. @socksolid, in the case of Senna, Ron Dennis has stated that “I think he probably bought into Toleman” and suggested that his financial contribution to the team is quite likely to have been a significant factor in him being signed by Toleman. Senna’s commercial links with Honda were also a significant factor behind his contract with McLaren in 1988, as he originally wasn’t McLaren’s preferred driver – McLaren originally wanted to sign Nelson Piquet to partner Prost in 1988, not Senna, but Honda linked Senna’s presence at the team to them supplying them with engines.

        As for Schumacher, a few years ago Autosport did find a copy of the acceptance letter Schumacher sent to Jordan in August 1991, and in it Schumacher stated “I understand that PP Sauber Ltd will pay you £150,000 per race for 1991”.

        That sums of money is reasonably substantial given that payment of £150,000 per race would be the equivalent of about £320,000 today. Had he stayed with Jordan after the Belgian GP, he would have paid £900,000 in total for competing in six races, a sum that would be the equivalent today of about £2 million.

        There are potential questions over whether he would have ended up in F1 in the end, as initially he turned away from F1 and towards the World Sportscar Championship instead – a move that a number of managers of the time thought, given the Group C series was in its heyday at the time, was going to take Schumacher away from F1. The significance of those payments is now downplayed, but at the time those payments probably were the deciding factor in Schumacher getting a seat.

        Equally, the situation with Alonso is perhaps more ambiguous than you suggest it was, as he might not necessarily have made it into F1 without his sponsorship connections.

        Alonso was personally sponsored by Telefonica at the start of his career, and Telefonica were the primary sponsor of Minardi at the time. Gian Carlo Minardi has indicated that it was Telefonica who paid for Alonso to carry out tests with Minardi, and that senior figures at Telefonica were instrumental in brokering the deal between Alonso and Minardi that eventually got Alonso into F1.

        It is worth remembering that, back in 2000, there was a point where it looked like Alonso’s career was stuttering in Formula 3000 – he was off the pace for the first half of the season, and most of his best performances came quite late in that season. Compared against some of his contemporaries, Alonso’s record wouldn’t have immediately stood out against, for example, Nick Heidfeld (who’d won the German Formula Ford and Formula 3 titles, before going on to win the International Formula 3000 title).

        It might look like a good decision now, but looking back with the benefits of hindsight risk colouring your perceptions of what people thought back then. When compared against some contemporary drivers, it’s debatable whether his results by themselves would have been enough to persuade some teams and his relations with Telefonica do seem to have been more significant in getting him into F1 than you suggest.

        1. You are leaving out stuff that matters. When senna was hired by mclaren he was already fast established driver. Whatever happened with toleman does not take away his accomplishments at lotus and mclaren. Senna also hadt ested quite a few f1 cars at that point (williams, brabham toleman, lotus and mclaren) but toleman was the only one with available seats. Senna also did not want long contracts which he already had on the table earlier. As for schumacher he was a mercedes junior driver at that point. The reason he was given money to get into f1 was because he was a mercedes junior driver and schumi also had some pretty good results in single seaters as well. Merc also got wendlinger and frenten into f3000 and f1. Sauber was after all mercedes factory team. The sums of money don’t matter. What matters is who pays and why. Both of reasons you left out or just got wrong.

          As for alonso he had already won one series at that point and f3000 was only his second season in race cars at that point while also having won numberous karting championships. He was clearly a massive young talent. Finishing 4th in that championship was not bad result considering he also beat his team mates. After his championship win in the euro nissan series he had his first f1 test and did very good job according to all sources. After his f3000 season in his second f1 test Alonso allegedly also matched marc gene’s times in the minardi test.

          If those situations make alonso and schumi pay drivers then with that same logic verstappen’s and vettel’s racing histories are also “ambiguous” because they are red bull pay drivers…?

          I don’t even know you responded to my post at all. All of that text was already handled in my earlier post where I said: “Their financial contributions are results of their driving skills.”. Getting into f1 is always some kind of financial deal. Drivers are expected to bring in sponsorship money to some degree. That does not define schumi’s nor alonso’s nor senna’s career like it defines ericson or stroll.

          1. @socksolid

            verstappen’s and vettel’s racing histories are also “ambiguous” because they are red bull pay drivers…?

            No they were part of the driver development program. They were head hunted by RB to race for RB. As was Ricciardo and Kvyat. I think all the major teams run these type of programs now.

          2. @socksolid, from your response, I get the impression that you seem to struggle to accept anything that isn’t a clean cut black and white world for you – it must be that “he is a pay driver” and “he can’t be a pay driver” and there is nothing in between, so that anything which risks blurring the lines must be dismissed out of hand.

  10. José Lopes da Silva
    18th March 2019, 12:40

    It’s the first time in modern history that a driver buys two teams in succession, the second literally.

    This is an exercise of white-washing the dystopia and to convince ourselves that this is normal.

    Eventually, Stroll will be WDC and we will praise him for the hard work, and we will pay to watch this.

    1. dystopia

      Now that is an over the top reaction.

      1. Yes, but a pretty good one in its own way. An Orwellian F1 novel would be awesome.

    2. White Washing? Dude I would prefer if you keep the race and gender thing out of here if that’s what you mean

      1. transitive verb
        1 : to whiten with whitewash
        2a : to gloss over or cover up (such as vices or crimes) refused to whitewash the scandal
        b : to exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data
        3 : to hold (an opponent) scoreless in a game or contest

  11. Got to say well done to him. Ocon may have done better, but who knows, maybe not. Will be good for Stroll if he can be consistent.

  12. If he does good against Perez, then he is good. Very straight forward, Perez is a benchmark of a decent F1 driver.

    It would be hard to judge Stroll in Williams, where there were all kinds of potentially driver unrelated issues.

    1. Yes, that’s what I said as well, and I expect him to be close to perez but the latter to have the edge, thereby proving stroll is better than many gave him credit for and I see this from the 2017 season, with a decent williams.

    2. So, does that mean that Hulkenberg and Ocon, each having collected a lot fewer points than Perez in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, are not decent drivers ?

  13. It’s nice to have a Canadian on the grid. However, listening to Lance speak French is as enjoyable as shoving hot pokers in your ears. :)

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