Lance Stroll, F1 driver, is rumored to be giving up his time in motorsport to play tennis. What does this mean for Aston Martin and the grid?
The biggest rumor surrounding F1 at the current moment is Lance Stroll’s commitment to the sport. The Aston Martin driver currently sits at P9 in the Driver Championship and is a staggering 102 points behind his new teammate, Fernando Alonso. If Stroll’s father was not the owner of the Aston Martin team, he likely would be on the chopping block to lose his seat on the team after the season. However, his father has no control over whether Stroll chooses to leave the sport on his own accord. What would this mean for the grid? Why would Lance Stroll choose tennis? Here is my take on the latest rumor:
Lance Stroll and His Tennis Aspirations:
There is not much information on the internet regarding Stroll’s passion for tennis. Stroll has been a motorsport competitor for nearly all of his life. There is no hard evidence of his tennis skill level, but Stroll must be competitive to give up motorsport for the racquet sport. Overall, his tennis career is likely only considered as a serious hobby.
There are many non-believers in Stroll’s skill set as a driver, but we can still appreciate his success in F1 and in lower divisions. He has one of the most underrated title-winning seasons in F3 history. Since he has been in Formula 1, Stroll has managed a pole position and three podiums through 134 races. While these are not record-breaking statistics, many drivers will never be able to claim one of these numbers throughout their careers. In 2023 however, Stroll is struggling big time compared to his teammate.
With consideration of the constant media backlash and his poor race form, it is not a far-fetched rumor that Stroll may want to retire from the sport. If Stroll does leave F1, it could potentially benefit his mental health and give him a platform to move on from his father’s shadow.
What Would Stroll’s Retirement Do to F1?
Stroll’s retirement from Formula 1 could give Aston Martin a new life. The team could become much more competitive with the right replacement. The team has shown real pace this season and has shown major progression since the 2022 season. If there was a driver next to Alonso that could match his performances, then they could potentially keep a P2 Constructor Championship finish in sight. These are the drivers that should be given a shot at Stroll’s seat:
As I mentioned in my recent article, Tsunoda has showcased his abilities this season. He would be a realistic replacement for Stroll. The team may not have the ability to target a big-name driver as most of them have contracts through the 2024 season. But, they still require a replacement that has proven that they can drive at high levels. Tsunoda offers more than an F2, F3, or IndyCar driver because he has a great combination of F1 experience while still having a high ceiling. Depending on what happens with Sergio Perez and Red Bull, Tsunoda could have his eyes on the potentially open Aston Martin seat.
Ricciardo has a lot to prove to land the seat next to Alonso. Just a while ago, Ricciardo was a driver who seemingly would never drive in F1 again. He was a poor McLaren driver and lost his seat to Oscar Piastri. His move to Red Bull during the off-season revitalized his career and he made an unexpected return to F1 for AlphaTauri. If he can consistently have good results over the second half of the season, then he would be a strong candidate for Aston Martin.
Rumors are just rumors at the end of the day. The reality is that as long as Lawrence Stroll owns an F1 team, Lance Stroll will be on the grid. Until there is firm evidence that Stroll is retiring from F1, then he will be racing for Aston Martin for the foreseeable future. He has shown that he can be a solid driver on the grid. His F1 future lies in his hands. I wish nothing but success for Lance Stroll whether his career is in tennis or motorsport.