Lawrence Stroll rubbishes “totally untrue” Aston Martin sale rumour

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In the round-up: Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll rubbished an unsubstantiated rumour published elsewhere which claimed he was considering selling the team.

What they say

Stroll purchased the luxury car manufacturer last year and has rebranded his Formula 1 team, previously known as Racing Point, as Aston Martin this year.

He described a rumour claiming he might sell it to a Chinese consortium as “absolute bullshit and totally untrue”, according to an Aston Martin spokesperson, who added he “couldn’t be more excited about, and sincerely believes in, the team’s long-term future success.”

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

The new owners of Williams have kept the team’s name – but should they have?

May we all lament the day when Williams was sold and the last remaining family team in F1 ceased to exist, and remember it as the day F1 stopped being about motor racing passion and became purely about corporatization and money.

As to the personal comments of nepotism and so-on. Maybe you’ve got to start your own family business to understand what it really means and why it happens. Selling out your business to outsiders is essentially selling out your family.

Personally, I’d rather have seen the Williams F1 team name disappear with the ownership. It won’t ever be ‘the’ Williams team ever again.

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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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40 comments on “Lawrence Stroll rubbishes “totally untrue” Aston Martin sale rumour”

  1. Aren’t Bernie and Flavio friends? Why not buy the yacht directly?

    1. If Flavio had his way, he wouldn’t be selling the yacht to anyone. Italian customs seized it in relation to Flavio’s tax troubles back in 2010. I’m surprised it took them over a decade to sell it…

      1. Thanks… If I had read the story I wouldn’t have asked the question… silly me. :)

      2. Still, this might have been about Bernie doing his friend Flavio a favour – either helping him get rid of the customs claims open tag, or even helping him get the yacht back this way!

        Always amazed at seeing how long these kind of procedures take. A decade!

  2. Why does Bernie Ecclestone even want a yacht? What is he going to do on it? Just sort of bob about on the ocean? I have an idea what Flavio or Eddie Irvine would be up to on a yacht, but Bernie? He won’t be snorkelling, I would have thought he’d be happier in his office, or just sat about, ringing people and creating stories for no reason other than to amuse himself.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      31st January 2021, 1:42

      I’m guessing here but I’d assume Flavio wouldn’t be allowed to buy it back from the auction…. I wonder if he can buy it from Bernie?

    2. @bernasaurus You mean another yacht he already owns a 35 million yacht called Petara.

    3. @bernasaurus

      They are mobile homes for rich people. Unlike a normal mobile home, yachts offer very good privacy.

      They are also good places to make deals (taking the person you make a deal with out of their element, so they are more likely to make deals that are poor for them).

      And it’s a good place to invite ‘special’ guests that others may not know about, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

    4. Rented 300.000€ a week, it’s just another way for rich people to become richer.

    5. You could ask why Bernie needs at least £2500 million. If he spent a million every week, he’d still have plenty left in 2065.
      The yacht represents about 0.28% of his wealth – peanuts. He probably misheard and thought he was buying a coat.

      1. If he is still alive in 2076 it will be worth the money!

    6. Most likely Bernie will sell it for a quid or two’s profit pretty soon. Wonder if the Serial Number will be modified?

    7. He’s a new father, a yacht seems a dangerous place for a baby that can’t swim, and a 90yr old for that matter.

      At least Flavio presumably floats.

      1. Babies can swim easy it’s when they get older they seems to forget to swim.

  3. But how much did Netflix help? These types of things most definitely aren’t contributing factors in an F1 team’s driver choices. Most importantly, on-track performance, but also financial backing in some cases.

    As for the COTD: Yes, maybe the Williams name could’ve gone away too, but I’ve never cared an awful lot about this detail at any point since last September.

    1. And why retire the name when Ferrari and McLaren are still around as team names.
      And even Sauber is just hiding behind a car maker’s marketing veil.

      1. @coldfly Ferrari do still have a direct connection the the founder.

        1. Thanks @johnrkh,
          I forgot that Pietro is still actively involved.

          1. McLaren is an automotive manufacturer outside of F1 – it makes sense now that they maintain the name. When Bruce McLaren died, I believe it would have made sense to retire the McLaren team name – but as we know, Bruce didn’t get the choice to keep or drop the name of his team.
            If I were Frank or Claire, I’d have specified in the sale that the name be retired.

            Of course, the Williams F1 team name carries a lot of weight and can be used to make money…

  4. I read on Reddit that there is some truth to the Stroll rumours.
    It seems that he is reinvesting his money in GameStop to then merge it with a virtual racing team.

    I can understand that a parent prefers that over F1 for their children.

    1. someone or something
      31st January 2021, 13:30

      If you sell Aston Martin at GameStop now, you probably get enough money for, like, 3 shares of GME stock.
      GameStop may have dodged that bullet …

  5. Boat race fans ?

    This daily round up getting worst in quality.

    1. A round up of F1 relevant news during the off season. Nothing low quality at all

    2. Even during the weekend there are some interesting stories around, although I don’t know where the original quotes came from

      “ He loves to race. He is a rare breed of driver who is always motivated, and I see him as someone who will be a worthy competitor against us this year.”

      1. On that site, its rarely possible to know where the original quotes come from!


  6. Re Piastri: I don’t really call a driver from the feeder series for “the next driver of an F1 driver”.

    1. Neither does he: “If I did win the championship then it would be three championships in a row, so I don’t really know what more I would be able to do! But ideally, 2023 is my goal. If I can do it before then that’s great, but I think after a second year in F2 it’s sort of the point where I will either become an F1 driver or I won’t.”

  7. May we all lament the day when Williams was sold and the last remaining family team in F1 ceased to exist, and remember it as the day F1 stopped being about motor racing passion and became purely about corporatization and money.

    The reason Williams got themselves into that situation where the team had to be sold is because they forgot their motor racing passion! This isn’t about whether it is better to build in house or outsource, it is about which gives you the best result on the racetrack. Pointing at other teams that outsource or buy from other teams and accusing them of not being worthy competitors in F1 because the Stewards let them interpret the rules in a way you don’t like isn’t just a waste of time (because it makes you appear a hypocrite when you decide those teams are right and go down the path they are treading), it also doesn’t get you points on the racetrack, only finishing in the Top 10 does. If you don’t like the way a team has interpreted the rules then appeal to the Stewards, and if the Stewards say that team’s interpretation is legal then that means you can use that interpretation too. F1 is all about motor racing passion: F1 isn’t a series for “traditional F1 cars”, it is a series for “traditionally desperately passionate to win” F1 teams. Put it another way: if you had a choice between getting parts from a competitor that would guarantee you regularly finish in the points but almost never winning and building in house and never finishing in the points … why would you build in house?

    1. @drycrust Okay – if you started your own business and were exceedingly passionate about it, how you run it and what you’ve achieved with it, how quick would you be to sell out that philosophy (which in this case won many world championships) and give up your approach?

      In terms of on-track success, yes, I agree with everyone’s point that in doesn’t work with their current budget or in the current F1 environment.
      Many here have essentially argued that a modern F1 team is no place for family, or even emotion. Success is everything, and everything must be done to achieve it. Winning is all that matters.
      Williams, to me, was more than that. It was a team that existed not just to defeat everyone, but also to teach and train people, to provide opportunities, lifestyle and a positive and desirable workplace. A family team not just by ownership, but by operation. A nicer place to be…
      Minardi fitted into this category, for example. Many other (now defunct) teams filled this role also. Not every team competed to win, because many knew they had no chance. It was about the racing, not just the results.

      I’ll put the particular sentence you quoted another way – F1 just got a little bit colder… More business, less pleasure.

      1. S, the last time that Williams won a championship was 1997 – you can play the “passion” angle all you want, but Williams have been criticised for decades for failing to reform because it was locked into a mindset that shackled the team to the past and ultimately dragged it into obsolescence and ruin.

        Consider what Mark Webber said back in 2006 about the “costly mistake” he made in trusting too much in Williams’s reputation and history:
        “I’ve learned that reputations mean nothing – that the past and history does absolutely nothing for you in the present. It’s very important to respect things that have happened in the past but as has been proved in the last couple of years, it is not an automatic guarantee for success. Smarter and cleverer people do (and will continue to) come along and do things differently and better. That’s what Formula One is all about and it’s vital you stay ahead of the game to be successful.”

        Their mindset might have won them championships once, but it was sticking to that same mindset that has also condemned the team because it blinded them to the desperate need to reform a team that never recovered from Newey’s departure in the late 1990s.

        There’s a good reason why, in the early 2000s, many felt that Williams wasn’t competitive because of its own abilities, but mainly being carried along by the sheer grunt of BMW’s engines offsetting the technical deficiencies of their chassis. Equally, there have been a lot of technical failures over just the past decade alone – the lowline gearbox that was a disaster and ruined the handling of the car, the failed coanda style exhausts, the admission that, with the FW37 and FW38, the team were replicating the handling problems the FW36 had because they couldn’t get to the bottom of what was causing the rear traction and aerodynamic instability issues and instead were basically just trying to hide them by adding more downforce: even the FW40 had some of those issues carry over as well.

        It was repeatedly pointed out throughout the 2010s that, for the amount of money and resources that William had, it was doing a comparatively poor job and its technical division was lacklustre. We had the complaints about how, when the team had that burst of competitiveness in 2014, it wasted its opportunities – there have been strong hints that was what drove Symonds to leave, as he grew frustrated that the team was dooming itself to failure because it failed to recognise that it had a window where it would have the resources to make the long overdue reforms it needed to make and was failing to reform until far too late.

        However “passionate” you might be, when fundamental issues keep cropping up again and again over a period of a decade, if not more, it is an act of poor leadership to fail to recognise that reform is needed and to neglect the fact that there are clear warning signs that things are going wrong.

        You say that Williams was a place “to teach and train people, to provide opportunities, lifestyle and a positive and desirable workplace” – but Williams lost that ability to teach and train as it allowed itself to be overtaken by others, the opportunities dried up as the team failed to make progress, the positivity seems to have drained away long ago as people turned in on themselves to blame others for the decline of the team.

        A “nicer place to be” that is being run into the ground is fundamentally not good for anybody in the end, and that is what Williams allowed itself to become because it locked itself into the bad habits of “that’s how we’ve always done it”, even when the repeated failures made clear that was now the wrong way to be doing things.

        1. Either I’m not explaining myself very well, or many here just seem to be so blinded by results that they are choosing to ignore my underlying point. I think it’s the second one…
          A family business in any industry does not run solely for results and to squash the competition – how those results, good or bad, are achieved is massively important within that business structure. The Williams family clearly preferred to do things their way and try their best at it, rather than choose the ‘Haas’ method of doing as little as possible themselves, and ultimately having nothing of note to be proud of if and when they did achieve success. While that may not satisfy what some people think F1 is about, I give Williams extra credit for it.
          That is the mentality that drives many into motorsport in the first place. Not just winning, but putting in the effort to be able to compete at all, and reaping the satisfaction of that hard work. That is a foundation of pretty much every family business.

          If Mercedes or Ferrari finished last it would be a total disaster, because those teams exist only to defeat the competition and advertise their brands in a positive light. Success is their only objective and anything less is unsatisfactory.
          Williams F1 team, on the other hand, was a team (a business, in fact) that existed primarily to go about competing. Making it to the grid is a level of success for that type of team.

          I’m sure many will still not understand what I mean – some deliberately, I suspect.

          1. The dogmatism of your answers is demonstrating, in itself, the same attitude that has condemned the team you are insisting on defending with the same answer over and over again.

            Whilst you talk about the “foundation of pretty much every family business”, Williams is also rather like a large number of family businesses – in that it has financially collapsed around the time that it has transitioned from the founder to the second generation to run the business because of a lack of flexibility and adaptability in the management structure.

            When a team is repeatedly making mistakes and has a litany of failures, when people have been yelling for decades that the management structure is rotten and that it is ruining the team, at what point do you have to stop going on about “passion” and “heritage” and realise that you can’t just keep ploughing on in the same way?

            You say that “how those results, good or bad, are achieved is massively important” – so, if that system is clearly failing and the people on the factory floor are making it clear that things are clearly going wrong, isn’t it clear that you’ve got to adapt?

            When people within the team are not “reaping the satisfaction of that hard work” and are instead complaining about mismanagement and being overworked, when do you have to admit that you have to change?

            Now, I did not say anywhere that Williams had to follow Haas’s operating model – in fact, I’m fairly annoyed that you are falsely trying to put that argument into my mouth and would ask you to stop that. Note that I refer to the need to Williams to reform and to restructure – there is nothing that says that they would have to give up being a family business in order to do that.

            The advice has been given for decades that their Technical Department had weak leadership, that they had underinvested in their aerodynamics testing facilities, that the team had been falling short of their recruitment goals for junior and mid level technical staff to refresh their design team, which then created problems for senior designers that were being overloaded and unable to fully develop their designs, that the relations between machinists and the senior management of the production facilities were deteriorating as they were being asked to work unpaid overtime.

            Those problems have been building up for years and had to be addressed, but for too long it was the case that the team failed to act on those warning signs. They did not have to “do a Haas” to do that – there were managerial changes that could have been made earlier, there were changes that should have been made to their recruitment strategy, there were ways that they could have kept a “family business” system that still allowed them to adapt.

            When Webber said that Williams needed to realise that “Smarter and cleverer people do (and will continue to) come along and do things differently and better.”, that was what he was referring to – the need to recognise that you have to learn from what others are doing and be prepared to challenge what you are doing. People might have loved the team, and it was out of that love of the team that they told Williams that it had to change to survive for the longer term – and it was that failure to listen to the warnings of others and to make changes when they could that meant that they ultimately lost everything.

          2. You’ve still either ignored my point, or just don’t get it.
            Some family business owners would rather shut down or sell their business than have it run a different way. I’m not sure I can put it more blatantly than that. Maybe that seems stupid to someone who’s never run their own family business, but when emotion is involved as it is in a family business, it changes the decision making process drastically.
            The fact that the Williams family chose to sell rather than restructure is as good an example as any.
            Now they’ve sold out, the team can restructure and it can do whatever the new owners like – it isn’t the Williams’ family team any more.

          3. anon and S Not sure if you’ll see this comment of mine at this point, or if you will have moved on, but I just found it interesting and wanted to respond.

            anon I do see what you are saying, but I have to side with what S is saying. Anon you point out correctly that the stats are very high for siblings taking over a family business which seems to often translate to the business failing. I experienced it myself working for a family business that didn’t last more than two or three years after the boys took over from their Dad.

            However, you cite that too often a family business is not willing to change and adapt, and I think that often the case is that the ‘boys’ come in and think they need to change everything as they think ‘the old way’ must be changed simply because it is the old way or there must be new better ways. They want/need to put their fingerprint on things because they have been handed the opportunity. But often they only think some new way would be better when they are actually bucking a system that had worked for years, and now, by changing so much, the old clientele that were used to dealing with the company and the Dad as per usual, have to adapt to a different company that they no longer recognize, not because things were going badly before but just because the boys thought they new better…on paper…and made the company unrecognizable.

            As Claire points out, they were only a title sponsor away from continuing and turning a corner, and then the pandemic hit. Yes they were walking a tightrope, but they were walking, but whereas Claire could have completely changed the team philosophy like so many siblings do having taken over the family business, at least she stayed true to their model, and it is moreso F1 that changed on them, starting with the highly expensive and complex new chapter in 2014. Yeah anon you are right that they could have changed and adapted ala the Haas way, but I for one agree with S and happily fully accept that Claire did it her way which was the Williams way, and she honoured her Dad and the family name by doing so.

            It was surely sad not only to lose a job at a very viable company, but as much so to see a company started decades ago by the boys grandfather, then taken over by their Dad and their uncle and run and grown successfully for decades, fade away to nothing in a few short years, just because they felt the need to change for the sake of change.

  8. Piastri is in a great position to get to F1 in the next few years. Really his minimum aim for 2021 would probably be to finish ahead of fellow Renault/Alpine juniors Lundgaard and Zhou. To get to F1 in 2022 he would basically need to win the championship and hope Ocon struggles still, but I think 2023 is a bit more realistic considering how competitive F2 is this year and due to Alonso probably retiring as well as Alpine maybe going after Gasly.

    1. @milesy-jam Though he’s also got to beat his teammate, Schwartzman which won’t be easy. And last year Piastri faltered a tiny bit toward the end of the season, Sargeant being a very strong threat but plaguered by misfortune. I hope he’ll be doing well this year!

  9. Personally I’d like to see Stroll Sr. out of the team. Things would be fairer for the drivers. Not that I have much faith in a Vettel revival nowadays, but it’s not out of the question. Must have something to do with his hairline, who knows.

    1. To what end though? Do you have any idea or vision for what you want to see next?

  10. Did you guys write anything about current Daytona 24h? Did I miss it? Plenty of F1 and other great drivers are participating…

  11. Williams should be renamed either ‘Lotus’ or something beginning with A.

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