HOLD THE BUS - IS LANCE STROLL LEAVING RACING POINT?
Updated: Nov 6, 2020
(I’d like to start this article by giving credit to @motorsport_geek on Twitter, who posted this interview and theory.)
I’m a history nerd; I like making assumptions on the future based on patterns from the past. So when it was announced that Sebastian Vettel would probably be signing for Racing Point for 2021, I was the first to assume that it would be Sergio Pérez leaving the team to make way.
Given the Stroll family’s history, and Lawrence Stroll’s influence within the team, it was hardly a stretch. Pérez is a much more experienced driver than Lance, but he doesn’t have miles more pace or podiums that outweigh Lance Stroll’s personal connection to the team, so we all assumed that Lawrence would protect his son’s seat.
Were we too quick to assume? Whilst we’ve all been speculating (myself included) about where Pérez will go, we’ve perhaps forgotten to analyse what the 2020 Racing Point drivers have been saying - not that much.
There’s been little indication in interviews about the changes within the team, and any small twitches have been overshadowed by Sebastian Vettel’s (admittedly very entertaining) media antics, as he jumps hoops to avoid confirming rumours.
Case in point, a recent interview with Ziggo Sport, the Dutch sports giant. The young Canadian said “Sh*t happens, so... yeah. Business is business, so we'll see what happens."
Wow. That doesn’t sound very confidence at all, and his body language didn’t provide any more reassurance that he’ll keep his seat next season.
Of course, Sergio Pérez’s absence from the next few GPs provides an opportunity for the 21-year-old to prove his value to the team, but his noticeable lack of pace at Silverstone last week, as well as a lacklustre performance in Free Practice this weekend, doesn’t exactly showcase his talent.
Certainly, Lance Stroll’s connections within Racing Point give him an advantage in securing a seat, and his previous stint at Williams seemed to set a precedent for a sort of nepotism. Remember, though, that Lawrence Stroll is a billionaire, and a businessman through and through - he’s not going to let Pérez go if he thinks it’s a bad decision for the team. With Racing Point (soon to become Aston Martin) seemingly on the rise, he might be more inclined to keep money in the team regardless of his son’s seat.
Could we see a Pérez and Vettel line-up for 2021, with Stroll having to settle for a more mediocre seat? Or could Racing Point even choose a completely new driver, like Nico Hülkenberg, who’s shown his talent in the RP20?
It would certainly be surprising, but that’s Formula 1, isn’t it?
Drop a comment and let me know what you think!