Who's your Daddy? Lance Strolls much maligned F1 career

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

Who’s your Daddy?

A famous quote, a joke and perhaps something you’d say in the bedroom.

But, above all it’s the one thing that controls the course of your life.

Have a rich Dad? Nice.

Have a poor Dad? Less nice.

Don’t have a Dad? Ouch.

Having established that, what the f*** does this have to do with anything about sport?

Well let me introduce you to a man named Lance Stroll.

In the big wide world of Formula 1, he might be a name you haven’t heard before. Its hard to look past the names like, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, and hometown hero Daniel Ricciardo.

Lance is a 21-year-old racer from Canada, and despite being so young, he has been in F1 for 4 seasons. Which means, he joined the worlds motor sporting pinnacle at the age of 18.

Now you’d think that if he were to do this at such a young age, he would be a prodigy right?

Well… not exactly.

Lance's father is a man called Lawrence, and Lawrence is a billionaire, specifically a 2.6-Billion-dollar billionaire.

So you can almost see where this is going.

In 2017, Lawrence invested $80 Million dollars per year into the Williams F1 team because he’s a nice guy!

Oh, and because it guaranteed young Lance a seat as a driver.

For the racing purists, this was blasphemy. Formula 1 was about the best drivers, in the best cars, on the best tracks. Not about who had the most money and could buy themselves a seat in whatever team they pleased.

Despite this obvious help from an outside force, Lance isn’t exactly a bum who doesn’t know how to drive a car though.

As a young driver back in Canada he was signed to the prestigious Ferrari Driver Academy, whose alumni boasts the likes of Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc who are both current F1 drivers.

On top of this Lance was definitely on the road to Formula 1 before he was gifted a seat in 2017.

In 2014 Stroll made his single seater debut in the Italian Formula 4 series with Prema Powerteam and blew the competition away finishing 1st, taking 7 wins, 13 podiums and 5 pole positions. This is a great achievement but hardly makes him more than an exciting young prospect for the future.

After doing this he made the natural progression up into the FIA European F3 championship, once again with Prema. Now this was a competition littered with future F1 talent, including Antonio Giovinazzi, Charles Leclerc, George Russel, and Alexander Albon who are all on the 2020 F1 grid. After his Rookie season in 2015, Stroll won 1 race in Germany whilst also achieving 6 total podiums. This left him at an extremely respectable P5 in the championship.

To finish his 2015, Lance travelled to New Zealand and competed in the Toyota Racing series. He returned to his Formula 4 winning ways by topping the category, taking 4 wins and 10 podiums.

In 2016, Stroll turned it up further and was incredible. He won 14 races, including 5 consecutive to win the FIA Formula 3 Championship with four rounds to spare. In addition to this the Canadian threw in 14 Pole positions, 13 fastest laps and 20 podiums.

At this point, Lance was a bonafide star in the making. Surely Formula 1 was in the future for this young man.

All he had to do next was climb the one mountain that all drivers do before they reach the glitz and glamour of F1. This of course was Formula 2, a category filled with the most promising Young Drivers in the world.

Except, he didn’t.

He picked up the equivalent to the “Go straight to Mayfair” card in monopoly.

That is where his tarnished reputation comes from.

He got labelled as a Daddy’s boy before he could even forge his own legacy.

It also doesn’t help that Lance joined one of the sports most historic teams in Williams, who at the time and still currently are going through their roughest period in history.

All of these accumulating factors make it hard to say whether Lance’s expectations coming into the sport were high or low. Did people expect him to succeed because of the beneficial position he had been put into? Or did people expect him to fail because of the way he had been gifted a seat.

Personally, I don’t think there were expectations, because that meant it was possible to exceed them. People didn’t want Lance to succeed, they wanted him to fail. They wanted him to metaphorically crash and burn, because to them he didn’t deserve to be in the sport.

People prayed for his downfall, even when he proved that it was not just Lawrence’s money that had him in a car.

In only his 8th ever Formula 1 race, Lance proved that he truly had the skill to be in the sport as he took a magnificent podium in Baku by finishing third. This feat made him the 2nd youngest podium finisher in Formula 1 history, a record which still stands to this day. He backed up this great performance by only finishing 3 championship points behind his teammate Felipe Massa, a man who raced in the sport for 15 years, taking 11 wins along the way.

The year after in 2018 the Williams team had fallen further from grace and produced a car that finished last in the Constructor’s Championship standings, but this year Lance outperformed teammate Sergey Sirotkin.

What happened next is why Lance is as hated as he is however.

In 2018, a fellow team called Force-India went into administration and was in the process of being sold. Now, purchasing an F1 team is quite expensive, so a consortium of investors bought the team and they were led by one man. That man was none other than Lawrence Stroll, Lances Dad. With this, Force-India was no more, and Racing Point was born.

Before the takeover, the team featured Sergio Perez, a veteran driver who has been a reliable points scorer for almost a decade and young French prospect Esteban Ocon. I am sure you can guess what happened next. Ocon, who supplied the team with significantly less sponsor money than Perez was dumped for a brand-new driver named….

Lance Stroll.

Yeah, this one is a bit hard to justify.