The money or the box?
Lawrence Sheldon Strulovich, better known as Lawrence Stroll is a man who means business, especially establishing and marketing clothing brands throughout the North American market. Stroll knows it so well he has amassed a personal fortune that was declared in 2018 as being $2.7B (USD). With his business mind and an interest in cars, Stroll is known to own several luxury and sports cars as well as being the owner of the Ferrari dealership in Quebec. This financial security has of course brought about opportunities for his children, namely his son Lance. Beginning his racing career in karts at the age of ten, Lance was handed the award for the Federation de Sport Automobile du Quebec as the rookie of the year. Since then Lance has weaved and sewed his way through the junior series, namely claiming titles as the Italian F4 and European F3 champion.
LAWRENCE STROLL INVESTED IN THE PREMA FORMULA 3 TEAM WHEN HIS SON LANCE WAS A DRIVER IN 2015
For any racing driver, the desire is to race in the top category and this introduction to Formula 1 was brought about through Stroll's involvement with Ferrari Driver Academy program. In 2016, he was recruited by the Grove based Williams team as their development driver. For the 2017 season, Felipe Massa announced that he was to retire from F1 for the first time, albeit this would be a short lived retirement with Nico Rosberg also deciding to hang up his helmet. It was also at this time that the usual round of banter and discussion turned to Stroll's racing pedigree and the price on the cheque stub that his father had signed to ensure his position within the team. Various media outlets reported that Lawrence Stroll had made a cash investment with Williams for anywhere between $25M - $80M to ensure that his son was seated in a Williams FW40 on the grid in Melbourne.
Of course with the talk of money changing hands, Stroll's name was added to a list of current and former drivers including Sergio Pérez, Pastor Maldonado, Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr, Esteban Gutiérrez, Rio Haryanto, Will Stevens, Jolyon Palmer, Pedro Diniz and his 2018 team mate Sergey Sirotkin. These names have been synonymous with having paid for their entitlement to be an F1 driver. They are known to bring huge financial backing and as we have seen over time, without the results on the track, the money purse is soon taken away, as well as their spot within the team.
After two full seasons at Williams, Stroll is now walking into a new garage on the it lane and following his Dad's money and investment into the Racing Point F1 team, formerly known as Force India. In saying that, a lot of people are simply saying that it maybe a case of Lawrence having bought a team for his son to use that so that he remains in the F1 paddock. That being said, Stroll struggled at Williams in his two years with the team. During 2017, there were two highlight moments and for a better word, luck scored him a second place grid spot in Italy (by way of promotion due to penalties awarded to other drivers) and a third place podium in Azerbaijan during 2017. For 2018, well it was just simply a season to forget for both Stroll and the Williams outfit. As we well know the Williams effectively let both Stroll and Sirtokin down with a lacklustre vehicle. Were Williams to blame for all the criticism of Lance Stroll? Other new drivers have come to F1 and shone, where as Lance may well have been handed the wooden spoon of F1 cars.
STROLL DRIVING HIS FW40 IN MALAYSIA, HIS MAIDEN AND BEST SEASON SO FAR IN F1
The million dollar question now is, what can Lance Stroll do to deliver and prove to those that believe in him or to shut down the doubters about paying for your seat drivers. More results and potential podiums plus beating his experienced team mate will be the challenge. The Racing Point team have been around for a while under various guises, but Williams have championship winning heritage. As has been demonstrated throughout the 2017 and 2018 seasons that Racing Point as a team has a more reliable and stronger package. Let us wait and see what happens in Melbourne. As the season progresses it may be a case of the landlord asking himself if he needs a new tenant who can pay the rent in 2020?