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Formula 1 Canadian GP

Why Stroll isn’t about to throw in the towel in F1

Ahead of his sixth Montreal home race, questions on Lance Stroll's long-term Formula 1 ambitions keep returning, and the Canadian keeps batting them away.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin F1 Team

Stroll has long been a divisive figure in F1, with some of the criticisms directed towards him of his own making and some inherited.

The son of billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who backed him with the best possible equipment to an F1 promotion in 2018, Stroll was always going to have public perception going against him.

And with seats in F1 so hotly-contested and many promising drivers missing out, neither Stroll's hit-and-miss performances to date nor his reluctant dealings with the press have done much to change opinion.

Whenever 2025's lively driver market was discussed in recent weeks and months, there has always been a tacit understanding that the second seat at his dad-owned Aston Martin team was not up for grabs.

With Aston very much a project based around the ambition of the Stroll family, it is a foregone conclusion that the seat will be his as long as he wants it.

So, how long does he actually want it? It's not unreasonable to assume that spending eight years in F1's midfield has dampened his motivation, but Stroll dismisses that his interest has cooled in any way.

He insists the superteam that his father is trying to build at its brand-new Silverstone headquarters will be worth the wait, with it being a shame to bail out now before the team has a chance to capitalise on the 2026 rules reset and the Honda works partnership that are fast coming into view.

Photo by: Erik Junius

"It's amazing to see how far we've come as a team the last five years since we were in pink colours," he said.

"We have an incredible facility that we moved into last year. There are a lot of pieces of this puzzle that have been coming together over the last few years.

"Along with the talented people that have been in Silverstone for many years, a lot of new talented people have joined and are joining, which makes this project very exciting.

"We've gone from a team that had 350, 400 people in 2019 and now we're pushing the number of 1,000 people.

"So, I'm definitely committed and excited to be a part of this project. In my mind I'm definitely here for the future, that's where my head is at."

The fact that he doesn't have to fight for his place the same way other drivers do is, with some justification, used to level criticism at him and so are his performances, which have been trademarked by genuine yet inconsistent flashes of speed, which have often seen him qualify and finish below the Aston's true potential.

The matrix of supertimes for 2024, which is based on the fastest single lap by each driver at each race weekend to measure raw pace, has Stroll's average gap to team-mate Fernando Alonso at 0.233s, which actually puts him closer to his team-mate compared to the likes of Sergio Perez at Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo at RB and even Carlos Sainz at Ferrari.

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

But the standings don't lie either, and by not always putting everything together in the trickier to balance AMR24 Stroll is heading into his home race weekend on 11 points, a third of Alonso's tally.

And much like question marks were raised after Perez's contract extension at Red Bull, there is an obvious conflict between Aston Martin's ultimate ambition to win the world constructors' championship and Stroll's ability and consistency to help the team collect the necessary points to get there.

But while not being under pressure to keep his seat like other drivers are, Stroll says he is the "most competitive person" and hates struggling as much as anyone else.

"I like to see myself perform super well," he explained. "I'm the first person that's hard on myself on a day when things don't go well and I'm still as excited and happy as ever when I have a great day, since the last seven, eight years that I've been in Formula 1.

"That feeling is still driving me to keep pushing, to keep going and yes, I hate having bad days, just like I'm sure everyone does in this paddock, absolutely."

To Stroll's credit, his return from a cycling accident at the start of the 2023 season spoke volumes of his commitment.

He finished sixth in the Bahrain Grand Prix despite visibly being in excruciating pain from spending 90 minutes driving an F1 car with two broken wrists and a fractured toe.

In a sport where performance trumps personal agendas, Stroll may never be able to shake off question marks on his presence, not that he would or should care. But moments like his resilience in Bahrain back up his motivation level more than any PR line can do, so don't expect him to trade his race boots for tennis shoes or his helmet for golf clubs any time soon.

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