For 25-year-old Lance Stroll, 2023 has been a journey of introspection, tough realisations – and foul moods. Having made his debut in 2017 with Williams, the rollercoaster ride of the Canadian’s career hasn’t spent a lot of time in a high gear. And now, after a starkly less-than-impressive performance alongside Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin, questions about his future in the sport are louder than ever.
Former F1 driver Christian Danner doesn’t hold back, suggesting that Stroll should seriously ponder whether his heart is still in the cockpit. “If someone approaches their job with such a lack of enthusiasm, then there is a lack of fundamental love for that job – for the privilege of being able to drive a Formula 1 car,” says Danner in an unvarnished commentary to sport.de.
Stroll’s struggles have been paralleled by a perceived lack of motivation amid his wealthy privilege – and a violent outburst at Qatar did little to quell concerns, earning him a stern rebuke from the FIA. “I don’t see (enthusiasm) in Stroll by any stretch of the imagination,” Danner adds, pointing out that the real issue is performance – or the lack thereof.
Lawrence Stroll, Lance’s billionaire father and the owner of Aston Martin, may attribute the 130-point gap between his son and Alonso to bad luck and early-season wrist injuries, but Danner isn’t convinced. “It’s a fact that Stroll is underperforming,” he declares. Despite assertions from Team Boss Mike Krack that “everything is great,” Danner insists that the results speak for themselves.
Post-Qatar tantrum, Lance’s terse “yes and yes” response to inquiries about his relationship with his trainer and his enjoyment of F1 did little to allay concerns. “If I was Lance Stroll, a grown man, I’d ask myself if I want to continue being a racing driver,” Danner insists, imploring the still-young Lance to reflect on his future in the sport.
In this critical moment, Danner draws a parallel with former F1 driver Nicholas Latifi, another son of affluence who made the brave decision to step away from racing after being dropped by Williams last year. “It’s a good comparison,” Danner notes, underscoring the courage it takes to make such life-altering decisions.
“I think this decision-making process – ‘what’s the point of it all?’, ‘do I really want it?’ – is what Stroll is now going through,” Danner concludes, underscoring the importance of finding joy in the journey, not just the destination.