Lance Stroll has endured arguably the most difficult phase of his Formula 1 career as questions continue to be asked about his future. Lance Stroll’s torrid Formula 1 season has ensured that lingering questions about his position on the grid continue. Ever since Stroll joined upstart Williams as an 18-year-old, Stroll’s value to F1 has been dissected and scrutinized, and the common response among his detractors is that he only has one of the 20 places because of him. father Lawrence Stroll, who currently owns the Aston Martin team that Lance drives for, has invested heavily in his son’s racing career and helped him climb the racing ladder to F1. The jump from F3 to F1 was always going to be difficult for Stroll to navigate in 2017, but before his debut he had to do a series of private tests, financed of course by Lawrence.
In the opening races of the year, he predictably failed to match the pace of veteran teammate Felipe Massa after the Brazilian was recalled to rejoin Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes. But Stroll’s first real glimpse of growth came at his first home race in Montreal, when he moved up from 17th to ninth and scored his first points. In the following race in Baku, he finished third in a chaotic race and became the youngest podium finisher in F1 history after Max Verstappen. It would be a recurring theme throughout Stroll’s career – a spurt here, a performance collapse there.
A year of restless walking Walk has been praised for recovering from an injury suffered in a pre-season cycling accident at the start of the current campaign. Recovering from winter testing, he jumped into the car at the first round in Bahrain and put in an adequate performance in the difficult conditions. The story of his career so far has had a spark of potential to change the story, but as the season progresses, Stroll still has a large deficit to teammate Fernando Alonso. Alonso won six podiums in the opening eight races, totaling 117 points. Meanwhile, Stroll won 37. In the nine races that followed, and amid Aston Martin’s slide down the pecking order, the two-time champion accumulated another 66 points, while Stroll has only 10 points.
While Aston Martin’s pace steadily dropped, things got worse for Stroll as the season progressed. His exit from Q1 last time in Qatar was the fourth time in a row that the Canadian failed to pass the first stage of qualifying, while Alonso advanced to Q3 every time this year, things seemed to boil over as he threw his steering wheel out of the cockpit after the session before pushing his works engineer after leaving the garage. 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg claimed that “if it was any other driver, he would be out next year just like he is now”. Rosberg is probably right – Promenado is protected by his father’s membership of the Aston Martin team, but it does not remove the series of disappointments he has suffered. The Silverstone-based team had a competitive car in the opening half of the year and Stroll’s lack of capital left the team vulnerable to McLaren, who are now just 11 points clear of fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
McLaren’s recovery has arguably been so seismic that even a walk in form would not have been enough to stop the Woking outfit’s season ending, but despite that he has had plenty of chances in seven seasons, in F1 to show his growth. With 140 games under his belt, the fact that his qualification in the series is still being questioned speaks volumes. The next step Where does Walking go from here? The 24-year-old noted that his struggles have been a little more difficult of late, suggesting that the AMR23’s progress has clashed with his comfort zone behind the wheel. Only extensive teamwork and a deep dive into the root of his problems can guide Stroll.
Then it’s just his responsibility to make sure he can get the potential out of the car and get himself out of the spiral. At the end of the day, his future will largely depend on the team owner’s decisions. With close family ties, he is unlikely to be forced out, but may be forced to sideline Stroll if he makes a serious World Cup challenge as he wants more stability.
It has already been suggested that the Hypercar programme, which Aston Martin will run in WEC and IMSA from 2025, will be a soft landing for Stroll should the team decide to move him away from the F1 team, despite the team already reducing options. either towards Canada or For Alonso. But Promenado is not only in F1 for the glamour. Despite his shortcomings, he has a mad passion for motorsport and wants to prove himself at the top of the competition.
But with so much experience already, who knows how long Stroll has to prove he can be the driver the team wants him to be? He’s shown the difference before – with the tools in place, the onus is squarely on his shoulders to deliver to show he can consistently deliver on a promise he’s contradicted throughout his career.
After all, you don’t win a championship at junior level if you’re not a strong rider.