Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

Stroll: Poor car last year masked my progress

2019 F1 season

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Lance Stroll says the progress he has made since his Formula 1 debut has not always been obvious because of the poor car he had last year.

The Racing Point driver came into F1 with Williams in 2017 and took seven points-scoring finishes alongside Felipe Massa, including a podium at Baku. But the team slumped badly the following year and Stroll managed just two points-scoring finishes, for eighth and ninth.

“It wasn’t a good comparison first to second year,” said Stroll. “We had a much stronger package the first year compared to the second year.”

He also had a new team mate as Sergey Sirotkin replaced Massa. Stroll said his performance did improve before he switched teams at the end of the year.

“What I expected from the first to second year was an improvement on my end. That didn’t show on paper due to the package being poor in the second season.

“But I did feel like I was more on top of the car, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the car and how I can fully unlock it. I think that will be the same in this team. I do believe that.”

His move to Racing Point means Stroll has his third different team mate in as many years. Sergio Perez is in his sixth season at the team. Stroll believes he will be able to show a greater year-on-year improvement alongside Perez next year.

“For myself, just coming back for a second season in the same environment with more experience, it’s a big, big benefit. That’s for sure, I believe.

“I can only tell you next year, but I do believe that if I could do every weekend over again this year, I could do it a lot better, if you know what I mean, just unlocking the full potential of the car in many ways. It’s tricky in Formula 1 [but] I think experience will definitely help.”

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Author information

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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  • 36 comments on “Stroll: Poor car last year masked my progress”

    1. I will not and must not say what i think about the opinion of drivers that drive for companies their parents own/co-own.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        26th November 2019, 11:04

        Lance is just doing what most of us would do given the opportunity. You cant dislike him or his father for that.
        True he is not the most talented of drivers, but as the rules stand he has a super licence and has got there to a degree on merit.

        However he does illustrate a problem with F1. Money rules. Not just in terms of performance and competition, but also opportunity. I would like to see a pyramid system based on merit where the rules that allow a driver to qualify for F1 are much stricter and well defined. Perhaps drivers in the lower formula are ‘promoted’ or some other similar system. Of course driver relagation from F1 would be tricky because their car would have so much influence. Ideas anyone?

        1. Here’s an idea: don’t allow companies to hire family members of employees.

          This is already practiced, successfully, in many corporations.

          1. it’s not the same thing at all. what good would that do? then Racing Point wouldn’t exist….

            1. That’s the whole point of implementing rules that stop conflicts of interest. If you don’t play by the rules, then you don’t get to participate.

              Daddy Stroll will either need to find a way to fund his son’s career through another team or run a team without his son on it. I don’t think that’s too ridiculous especially since there are a number of ways to fund a family members’ career without actually owning a team.

        2. José Lopes da Silva
          27th November 2019, 9:15

          “most of us would do given the opportunity.”

          It doesn’t make it right.

          And honestly, I wouldn’t do it.

    2. Learning to drive in F1, why not if you can afford it….

    3. I don’t think his performance has improved at all – for me he’s been one of the worst on the grid for the past few years. He still goes out in Q1 more often than not and generally if the Racing Point’s going to grab a racing point you’d expect Perez to maximise that over Stroll. The weird thing with him is that he does show the occasional flash of speed and talent, but it’s certainly in the minority of his performances not the majority. Brutal as it may sound, I can’t imagine he’d still be in F1 if he wasn’t fantastically rich or his family owned the team.

      1. @rocketpanda

        I think Stroll has been a little lucky that over the past few years there has been one really awful driver on the grid that takes away the spotlight on how bad Stroll really is. In 2017 there was Palmer, in 2018 it was Hartley and in 2019 it was Kubica.

        Overall, in the last 3 seasons out of all the drivers who’ve remained on the grid… Without a doubt Lance has been the most rubbish. He was rubbish in his first season.. Even more rubbish in his 2nd and equally rubbish in his 3rd. He’s got rubbish pace, rubbish consistency and mediocre to poor race craft.

        For the people who were people talking about his legendary race starts, and how we might take the fight Perez and ‘surprise’ everyone… Yeah right. I could have bet my house on the fact that he would get smashed to bits by Perez and any other half decent midfield driver he gets paired up against in the future.

        1. To be honest.. his starts are very good.

          1. It’s easier to have good starts when you start at the back of the grid with slower cars around, and in front of you.

        2. I agree that his pace is poor. but he is pretty consistent at just not being great. i very much disagree about his racecraft. I’d say it is decent to pretty good. He would so often do a load of clean overtakes without issues at the start without having decent racecraft.

          I think his latest race also should be pointed out that he was clearly better than Perez all race long, even without Perez having a poor race himself. Not that this happens often though.

          1. Positions gained at the start of the race are more due to quick and good judgment than anything else. It doesn’t say much about his racecraft. In fact it took him a lot of races to start atacking somebody as for the first dozen he was just defending himself and trying to race alone.

            He is pretty consistent at being below average. After Germany he was ahead of Perez on the standings, 18 to 13. Perez now has 46 and Stroll, 21, these 3 points say a lot more about himself and his season than the 12 from Germany.

            1. I think people overestimate his starts. If you qualify consistently lower than you should, it becomes easier to have a good lap 1, where you can overtake cars that shouldn’t be in front of you in the first place.

              Also, drivers starting on the last 2 rows of the grid usually gain the most positions after lap 1 as well… It’s just that there’s no one behind them and there are always race incidents on lap 1!

    4. A poor craftsman always blames his tools

      1. Although usually those tools aren’t owned by his father.

    5. Racing Point: Poor driver last year masked our progress

      1. Ocon? ;) is that why they got rid of him then? Storll wasn’t there last year.

    6. If I was Stroll I’d use all the money at my disposal to enhance my performance:

      – A suit that injects brain enhancing drugs throughout the race keeping him calm and alert
      – Coaching by the world’s best coaches analysing his every twitch in the car
      – Bionic, lightweight limbs with super fast reaction speeds and various attachments to allow adjustment of multiple wheel knobs at once
      – a name change to something that sounds faster like Lance Sprint or Lasercheetah

      1. @twentyseven

        To be honest… None of those could still win that guy a race.. Or even win him any respect of the fans. I like the idea of Lance sprint, but let’s be serious he looks more like a Lance lapped.

        1. José Lopes da Silva
          27th November 2019, 9:29

          There’s a driver in Indycar who has the Will and has the Power

    7. Perez went from being challenged by Ocon to not being challenged at all, and that doesn’t look likely to change next year. Or the year after.

      Unless Sergio injures himself “playing tennis”, ala JPM…

      It’s not a question of the gains Stroll can make, it’s the base setup that was wrong in the first place… Going out so often in Q1 would get him kicked of any team beside his dad’s!

    8. Can’t help but read this article with Lance’s voice in my head.

    9. Give the kid a break… Sure the family is rich and all that, but Lance has won few lower championships along the way too.

      1. @gpfacts

        Of course he’s won lower series… His dad could actually afford to buy a top team in gp3.

    10. When your biggest assets are your assets…

    11. If one thing, being there with a rookie made him look better than he really is, as he scored more points and was not as behind in saturdays (but was generally slower than the rookie) as he was compared to Massa before and Perez now.

      Stroll should take a look at the standings. He has less than half of Perez’s points and counting that lucky 4th place in Germany that flattered his very poor season.

      He can think whatever he wants about his progress, the truth is, if he weren’t rich, he would be already out a long time ago.

    12. He’s nowhere near Perez, yet he won’t get dropped because of privilege. Nothing I can do about it though, if I was Stroll I would drive an F1 car if I could too.

    13. Totally unlikeable character, the way he treats his former and also current team says a lot about his personality. For the past year or so he´s seemed so bored and annoyed with F1 that I´m actually surprised he´s still hanging around, he cannot work for the team, only humiliate them when the things are not going his way, which is one huge sh_ity personal trait to have.

      It´s funny how quickly has former Force India changed from an effective and respectable prospect into a totally average team with a bland driver pairing and nothing interesting whatsoever about them.

      1. I don’t understand your comment – what about his personality? Obvoiusly noneof us know the guy but reading interviews occasionally, I don’t think he’s being mean to his team or anything. i don’t think it’s fair to blame him for the downwards trajectory of the team either…

    14. With the midfield being so close, poor performances by one driver in a pairing can cost a team huge $$.

      One wonders how long the other shareholders will allow the team to be at the bottom end of the midfield standings (with the resulting lower income) if it’s apparent that is because of one particular driver.

      Won’t happen this year, but at the end of next year, we might just see a case of “Son we can’t afford to keep you” if he can’t contribute strongly from his side.

    15. While we are on the subject of Stroll I would add that some media coaching wouldn’t go astray. Every interview sounds like this “The car errr.. Didn’t have the pace errr… To make it out of q1 errr… Which is a shame errr… Because we had the pace in practice errr… “

    16. Yeah Lance is ok. For a pay driver he’s the best we ever had.

      He could be better, but also he could be worse. He would make it to F1 even if teams had enough money, but that is because lower categories are so expensive aswell and teams always need more money.

      He is also not somewhat of a spoiled brat like Leclerc & Company. There are many F1 drivers who suffer from Diva syndrome.

      But sadly he is not fast. Reliability, excellence only gets you so far in to the field. Once it comes to brilliance, he does not show it atleast.

    17. José Lopes da Silva
      27th November 2019, 9:17

      Stroll: Poor [teammate] last year masked my [lack of] progress

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