News that Fernando Alonso has committed his future to Aston Martin means that another piece of Formula One’s silly season jigsaw puzzle has been put into place, and it’s time that serious questions are asked of his team-mate, Lance Stroll.

Stroll is in his eighth season after debuting with Williams in 2017, claiming a podium at Azerbaijan, before moving to Racing Point in 2019. A further two podiums followed in 2020, with then team-mate, Sergio Perez, claiming his and the team’s first victory.

Yet the Canadian hasn’t stood on the podium since the outfit became Aston Martin in 2021, and has been shaded by Sebastian Vettel, and now more comprehensively, Alonso, notwithstanding that the pair have won six World Championships between themselves.

Alonso, who has re-signed through to at least 2026 – the first season of the sport’s new regulations, has consistently enjoyed Stroll’s measure since joining Aston Martin in 2023, registering eight podiums to Stroll’s zero last year.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 17: Lance Stroll of Canada and Aston Martin looks on during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 17, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

Lance Stroll. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

A cycling accident on the eve of last season, which resulted in a broken wrist, did Stroll’s preparations no favours. Whilst he recovered to finish sixth at Bahrain, the Canadian didn’t cross the line any higher than ninth during a ten-race stretch between Montreal and Brazil.

Stroll scored barely a third of Alonso’s points tally, and despite the latter claiming fourth in the drivers’ standings, Stroll’s sluggishness ultimately cost Aston Martin the same place in the constructors’ as McLaren, who had languished during the first half of the season.

As much as Stroll’s father and part owner of Aston Martin, Lawrence, dreams of providing his son with victories and championships, it’s Alonso who appears primed to deliver these.

The Spaniard must realise the team’s potential to have renewed for multiple seasons in the twilight of his career, and he certainly isn’t hanging around to support his team-mate’s bid for greatness.

Despite being only 25, Stroll has raced in almost 150 Grands Prix, so he’s been around for long enough to form an appraisal regarding his ability.

His radio outbursts and sullen demeanour don’t speak to somebody who enjoys what he’s doing, and even if he has demonstrated reasonable talent, the reality is that his seat is one occupied through nepotism.

Stroll looks at times as though he’s racing to keep his dad happy rather than his own desire. Whether this can be interpreted as him feeling the pressure to perform or he genuinely isn’t enjoying himself, it’s frequently difficult not to believe that Stroll would rather be elsewhere.

Mick Schumacher wasn’t immune from the churn despite his famous father, discarded by Haas after just two seasons in the sport despite having the worst car on the grid in his debut season and regularly beating his team-mate, Kevin Magnussen, in his second.

The German finished one position below Stroll in the drivers’ standings in 2022, yet he faces an uncertain future in the sport, now serving as Mercedes’ reserve driver and racing for Alpine in the World Endurance Championship.

Once Honda comes on board in 2026, pressure will surely be applied to appoint a Japanese driver in some capacity, and the name that immediately springs to mind is Yuki Tsunoda, currently of RB, who doesn’t appear to have a future at Red Bull despite showing up Daniel Ricciardo since the latter’s return to the grid midway through last season.

The other consideration is the potential sale of Aston Martin by the senior Stroll to the title sponsor, the Saudi petro gas company, Aramco, which has expressed interest in acquiring a controlling stake in the outfit for some time.

If Lawrence Stroll concludes that his son isn’t championship material, selling would be a pragmatic decision, as he’s turned a tidy profit since purchasing the car manufacturer in 2020. He already sold a minority share in the F1 operation at the end of last season, proving that he isn’t averse to a deal if there’s more money to be made.

Doing so would remove his scion’s security blanket, and whilst certainly not in the pay driver category, the younger Stroll isn’t the first name on every other team’s wish list should he become available.

Perhaps selling would also do Stroll a favour as it would release him from any moral obligation he feels towards his father and allow him to navigate his own destiny, whether that’s in Formula One or another field.

Conversely, if Stroll Sr. chooses not to sell and he’s serious about Aston Martin becoming champions, the time is fast approaching when he might need to make a hard decision and sideline his son, especially with seats in the sport at a premium and if the right driver is on the market.

Lance Stroll isn’t the worst driver in Formula One by a long shot, though he hasn’t made the most of the considerable resources at his disposal and the time to raise his game has arrived.





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