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The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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The Daily Eastern News


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COLUMN: Lance Stroll should take a walk

Sia DeyKoontz
Alli Hausman

The year is 2016, Italy. 

Thousands filled the crowd, packed together to see one of the final races of the Formula 3 season. 

Engines roared in the distance, approaching at an ever-increasing speed. 

There in the front was Lance Stroll, the then 17-year-old Canadian racer driving for Prema Powerteam. This was the second race of the first day of the Imola Circuit with a third race to come the following day.  

But by the end of the first day at Imola, the 2016 FIA Formula 3 Championship was already decided.  

Lance Stroll had done so well that season that even if he had crashed out and gotten dead last in every race moving forward, he would still be in first place in the season. Even with a whole other race to go in Germany, Stroll’s victory was assured.  

Stroll won the 2016 FIA Formula 3 Championship with 507 points. Second place Maximillion Gunther only had 320, with the average point gap between first and second place being roughly 60 in F3. 

Lance Stroll went on to skip F2 and debut in F1 in 2017. One would think it was due to his performance. 

The catch? Stroll’s billionaire father reportedly paid $80 million for his son’s seat.  

And Stroll has not lived up to the hype. 

Across Stroll’s now seven completed years in F1, only once has he placed higher than halfway, placing 10th in the 2022 season.  

Lance Stroll’s Formula 1 performance thus far. 

Stroll started out racing for Williams, a team that has been struggling in recent years. 

In 2017, he finished 12th out of 23 with one podium finish. 2018, he gets 18th of 20. 

By 2019, Stroll left Williams for Racing Point—a team now owned in part by his father Lawrence Stroll. He improved slightly this year.  

2020 was an odd year for F1. Stroll did well this year, winning his first pole position near the end of the season. This year, Stroll’s 11th place score in part came from him missing one race due to COVID-19. However, his teammate Sergio Perez got fourth this season despite being out sick for two races and conceding the final round of the final race.  

It is important to note how a driver’s teammate performed because in the Formula series, there can be differences in resources between teams. Teammates are on the same level in terms of car, engine, etc. 

By 2021, Racing Point transitions to Aston Martin, still under Lance Stroll’s father. Stroll raced with Sebastian Vettel this season, who was in his twilight years of an amazing career. Stroll again placed in the middle of the barrel. 2022 was about the same. Vettel got 12th this year despite missing two races—better than Stroll’s 15th 

2023 was Stroll’s best season yet, and it still left a lot to cry home about. While Stroll placed an improved 10th, his 42-year-old teammate Fernando Alonso—winner of the 2005 and 2006 FIA Formula 1 Championships—placed fourth. 

It is normal for new drivers to struggle in their first seasons in F1, but Stroll’s results just haven’t improved. He has consistently done worse than his teammates, even as an F2 skipper. 

Skipping F2 is a daunting challenge in and of itself. It calls for an incredible performance in F1. 

The most recent player to skip F2 aside from Stroll was Max Verstappen, who was offered a seat on the Red Bull Jr. Team in 2016.  

From the start, Verstappen performed well. He got 12th in 2016, but for every year after that, he has not placed under sixth. 

Most recently, Verstappen completely dominated the 2021, 2022 and 2023 seasons—winning all three. Back to back to back.  

Last year, he got first place overall with 19 wins and 21 podiums. There were 22 total races. Verstappen won 10 races in a row that season and broke at least 18 records. 

It’d take a prodigy to skip F2 under today’s ruleset—just as Verstappen has proven to be. Stroll is simply not, at least not anymore.   

But Verstappen is just that: a prodigy in this sport. 

Another racer comparable to Lance Stroll is George Russell, currently with Mercedes. 

Russell met Stroll in F3, racing against Stroll in his 2016 winning year. Russell got third that year and eventually moved to F2 in the 2018 season, which he won.  

Russell started out with Williams in F1 in 2019, getting dead last.  

By 2020, Russell was still performing generally poorly, getting 18th out of 23. However, there was an opportunity opened up for Russell this season. 

At the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain in 2020, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was out with COVID-19, giving Russell the spot for this race. It essentially was Russell’s trial run for Mercedes.  

While Russell placed ninth, he lead for the majority of the race and was second in qualifying—only behind the other Mercedes driver. He lost time from pit stops, not as much from driving mistakes.  

2021, still with Williams, Russell places 15th with one second place podium.  

Things started to change right around 2022, when Russell moved to Mercedes—a team with much more money in the bag than Williams has had.  

By moving to a team with better resources, Russell placed fourth, beating his teammate Lewis Hamilton, the most successful driver in F1 history.  

Stroll had this opportunity when he moved to Racing Point, funded by his father. But the results did not follow him.  

2023, Russell gets eighth with one podium when Hamilton got fourth. However, it must be noted that between eighth and fourth place, there was only a 31-point gap. Between eight and ninth there was an 80-point gap. Russell still significantly pulled ahead in this season. 

For as long as Stroll has been racing in F1, his results should be inexcusable.   

Every step of Stroll’s career has been pathed in money. Even back in F3, Lawrence Stroll bought in to Prema and installed legendary engineer Luca Baldisseri to mentor Lance Stroll.  

Even with some of the best resources available handed to him every step of the way, Stroll has underperformed. 

This year is Stroll’s last chance, one he would not have had without his father’s pocket change.  

If he does not prove himself in this final, undeserved chance, Stroll must be removed from Formula 1. 


 Alli Hausman can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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Alli Hausman
Alli Hausman, Copy Chief
Alli Hausman is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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