'Two years of torture' for Stroll at Williams, says father

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll has been looking back over the two years of "torture' that his son... The post 'Two years of torture' for Stroll at Williams, says father appeared first on F1i.com.

'Two years of torture' for Stroll at Williams, says father

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll has been looking back over the two years of "torture' that his son Lance endured at Williams before finally getting a chance to show what he can do with his current team.

The 22-year-old Canadian driver made his F1 debut in 2017, a year after winning the FIA F3 Euro title. Even though Williams was in decline at the time, Stroll picked up an early success with a podium at Azerbaijan in just his eighth outing, and was also on pole at Monza.

But with the team soon further struggling financially, Stroll was unable to build on that early breakthrough or show what he could do in the car. It left him labelled a 'pay driver' due to his father's very visible backing of his F1 career.

"We started with Williams, you know, two years of torture,” Lawrence Stroll told the Beyond the Grid podcast this week.

"Particularly when you’re used to coming off winning, and when you train for two three hours every day, and watch what you eat, and know that the best you’re going to do is 18th on a good weekend.

"It’s challenging so getting him a car last year was very, very important," he continued. “Very important for everything for all the work he has put in."

Lance left Williams at the end of 2018 and moved to Racing Point, which was in the process of being taken over by a consortium led by Lawrence. It's now been transformed into the Aston Martin works team, with Sebastian Vettel joining the driver line-up at the start of 2021.

Even though Lance's performance has compared favourably to that of the four time world champion, he's still finding it difficult to shake the 'pay driver'. At one point, fellow Canadian and former world champion Jacques Villeneuve labelled Stroll the 'worst' rookie ever to race in Formula 1.

Asked if having his father as a team owner had inadvertently made things tougher for Lance, Lawrence replied: "I would imagine yes, probably so." But Stroll Sr adamantly believes that this is unfair.

"Lance demonstrated in all the junior categories, when all the cars were pretty much identical and there wasn’t much you could do it. He won many championships in go-karting in his early days, won in Formula 4, won in Formula 3.

"I think it was most wins, most poles, and against a lot of the guys who are actually here today [in F1]", he pointed out. “So I think given the history of demonstrating he was able to do, and last year having a proper car...

Stroll was making a definite impression in the coronavirus-hit 2020 season and was in fourth place in the drivers championship when an tyre failure resulted in an unfortunate accident while running in fourth place in Azerbaijan. He also tested positive for COVID following the Eifel GP.

"We had a lot of bad luck last year," Lawrence acknowledged. "Lance was on a roll and was fourth in the championship, but then we had the tyre blow. That would have been another podium. And we had a few people push him off the track.

“So we had our share of bad luck last year, and it was the first year we had a car that he could do anything with.

"We all know you are only as good as the car," he added. "You can put any world champion in a car that is 18th on the grid and he’ll be 18th or 17th. He certainly isn’t going to be first.”

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Rossi outlines Alpine's 100-race path to the top of F1

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi says the French outfit is on a 100-race path to reach the summit of... The post Rossi outlines Alpine's 100-race path to the top of F1 appeared first on F1i.com.

Rossi outlines Alpine's 100-race path to the top of F1

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi says the French outfit is on a 100-race path to reach the summit of Formula 1 in 2024.

On paper, Esteban Ocon's shock triumph in the Hungarian Grand Prix last summer has already put Alpine well ahead of its expectations.

But the impression is deceptive as the Enstone squad took advantage of favourable circumstances at the Hungaroring to seal its first win under its new Alpine identity, while remaining out of the top five in all of its other races.

Rossi gladly took the remarkable win, but for the French executive, Alpine's 'jour de gloire' in Budapest was but a lucky strike, inconsequential in relation to its long term objective of becoming a consistent front-runner in F1.

"We have a long-term project, the objective is to reach a level of competitiveness that places us on the podium as many times as possible in 2024," Rossi told F1.com.

"From today in fifth, you can easily find a roadmap. It’s going to be every year a bit better. It’s a 100-race project, four years, four seasons."

Regardless of the results that will be achieved by his team on its way to its desired summit, Rossi wants to see first and foremost progress, on and off the track.

"Every race we must make progress," he added. "It can be progress you see on the track or progress you don’t see, all the little details.

"The idea is to never stop – and be able to see we’re going in the right direction. Next year, it’ll be a coin tossing year.

"All we want is to make sure we have a satisfactory level of performance when we start, which doesn’t put us too far from the top, And then from there, we can carry on our climb to the summit."

  • Read also: Alonso 'still a bit of a magician' on race day - Webber

Alpine is working with the comfort of knowing that its F1 efforts are supported at the highest level – and for the long term - by Renault Group boss Luca de Meo and the company's board of directors.

The French automobile manufacturer's top brass has assigned a strategic and cost effective mission to Alpine's F1 outfit.

"We are here to stay, we are here to improve every year," said de Meo, echoing Rossi's mantra.

"We are here with an ambition. Alpine is part of one of the biggest manufacturers of the world. The story is that Alpine will have a long-term commitment.”

"We are planning to transform Alpine in the electric car sports arena. We’re developing the product.
"The idea is to build around racing activities a business that would give perennity to the racing activity, so the business would then finance the operation.

"It will be a system that closes itself. Our performance here [in F1] will give substance to the whole story."

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