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Full Grid: Lance Stroll completes the 2019 F1 driver line up as Force India bows out
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Posted By: Editor   |  01 Dec 2018   |  3:15 pm GMT  |  136 comments

The switch was known for some time, but Racing Point Force India have finally announced that Lance Stroll will compete for the team in the 2019 season, which has now been confirmed to be renamed as Racing Point F1.

The father of Lance Stroll, Lawrence Stroll, led a consortium which bought out the Force India team during this season’s summer break, which immediately put Stroll Jr. as the favourite for a seat at the Silverstone team for 2019.

It was thought that Stroll could’ve joined the team for the closing races of this season, but Force India saw out the remainder of the season with Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.

Despite yet not being confirmed as a Force India driver, Stroll took part in the end-of-season test in Abu Dhabi with the team.

“I’m pleased that we can finally confirm Lance’s arrival to race alongside Sergio next year. It gives us an exciting line-up with the perfect blend of youth, talent, and experience,” confirmed team principal and CEO Otmar Szafnauer.

“Lance is only twenty and already has two years of Formula One experience under his belt, as well as a podium finish and a front row start.

“We see huge potential in Lance and believe we can create an environment in which he can flourish. Our team has enjoyed great success nurturing and developing young and talented drivers, and we are very excited to begin our journey with Lance.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Esteban Ocon for his contribution to the team over the last two seasons and wish him well for the future.”

‘Force India’ name disappears after eleven seasons

The Stroll-backed consortium bought out the Formula One team during the summer break, but they had to retain the Force India name due to the regulations stating that the chassis name (in this case, the Force India VJM11) has to be linked to the team name.

Therefore, they were temporarily named Racing Point Force India for the second half of 2018 to make their entry legal.

The 2019 season will be their first opportunity to complete the re-branding of the team and have a chassis name of their choice.

This means that the Force India name will disappear from Formula One altogether, a name which has been present since the 2008 season, following Vijay Mallya’s successful acquisition of the Spyker team at the tail-end of 2007.

Adrian Sutil at the wheel of the Force India VJM01 during testing, February 2008.

Despite initially struggling for competitiveness, the team first showed signs of being able to punch above their financial weight in 2009, when they took advantage of the car’s capabilities on the high-speed circuits and took their first pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix. In the hands of Giancarlo Fisichella, they went on to take their first points and podium with a second place finish in the same event.

They came close to repeating the podium result with Adrian Sutil at the following race in Monza, but the team were set up to become regular point-scorers from 2010 onward.

They were unfortunate not to register another podium sooner, finishing fourth at the Singapore and Belgian Grands Prix in 2012 as well the 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix. They might’ve won a race altogether had Nico Hulkenberg not crashed out in the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.

The team really came alive during the turbo-hybrid era, where their decision to stay with Mercedes power reaped rewards.

They took their second podium with Sergio Perez – who would become a key figure for the team – at the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix, and registered their personal best points haul of 155 points.

A personal best championship position of fifth place followed in 2015, along with another podium for Perez in Russia.

Perez secures third place at the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.

Perez took another two podiums in 2016 at Monaco and Azerbaijan as the team went one better in the championship and finished 4th, repeating the feat again in 2017 with the rapid pairing of Perez and Esteban Ocon.

Despite their successes on a small budget, the team were in trouble financially, and were forced into administration by Perez, his backers, and other creditors.

The acquisition by Lawrence Stroll sees financial security for the Silverstone team and with it the hope that one of the best ‘bang for buck’ teams on the grid will finally have the resources to continue their climb up the Formula One grid.

All images: Motorsport Images

By: Luke Murphy

How well do you think Lance Stroll will do against Sergio Perez? What are your thoughts on the ‘Racing Point’ brand? Leave your comments in the section below.

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1

Racing Point ? Where did that come from ? A rather un-F1 name for sure.

2

Can anyone explain why Lance gets so much criticism from fans (or trolls) please? Last time I checked, he was driving a very slow car – so why is he slagged off? If he was at the back of the grid in a Merc’, I’d understand the criticism – but I’m pretty sure some “fans” just take joy in being nasty about some drivers. Why? For what reason? Weird.

3

You mean “Strolls” Peter.

I agree that pay driver as a word in general is a bit misleading. They all wants to get paid in one way or another. And most get’s paid a lot from other incomes revenues than a simple salary as well.

But until a driver has proved himself to be able to be fast he will attract negative response. Today most, well all drivers, have strong backings money-wise, so it’s nothing entirely different. Unfortunately for Stroll Jr, that will be practically impossible in the position he is in now.

But if we go back to the roots of F1, it was a class of aristocrats and other wealthy people who drove the cars in general. We had quite a few women as well being successful, but all that is a well forgotten part of F1 history if one is to believe most of the storytelling right now.

Regardless, it takes a lot of money to get anywhere as a driver today.

4

He brought a lot of money with him when he came to F1, which has meant a lot of people have tagged him as a “pay driver”. He certainly brought money courtesy of his father, but I think that tag is a bit unfair as he has actually got a good record as a racing driver having won various series including F3.

5

First of all I believe we must get rid of the whole idea that anyone successful in other categories like GP2, F3, or whatever they might be called, will also be well equipped to be successful in F1.

How to really assess the ability or better put how well a driver will do in F1 is much up to opinions and politics as it is right now I believe. And money of course.

Not many will have the benefit of this Beckettian “try, fail, no matter, try again, fail again, fail better.” abbreviated to fit the purpose. I can only come up with a few. None mentioned, none forgotten to use an old cliché.

Not many have been successful right away though, in a young age as is the trend now. And the ones being mature even less so.

Nothing to sa a young driver can’t be any good. The real question is if these car’s are too easy to drive and if you can put that much driver input to a F1 car of today. Less so than as has been the case before I’m afraid the answer would be.

Last of all. A category or series with only young drivers will be nothing more than a junior league. Fortunately I don’t believe it will come to that. But I can see that LM are worried and probably put some efforts in to keep some of the old stars in the game. Kimi is tho only old school driver left (you might want to put Lewis and Seb int there as well, albeit borderline I would way) and I wonder if there wasn’t phone calls made to him when he wanted to quit.

6

The simple truth of the matter is if Stroll snr didn’t own an F1 team then Stroll jr wouldn’t be driving an F1 car next season.

7
Tornillo Amarillo

Like Alonso, Sirotkin, Ericsson, Vandoorne, Hartley…

8

He might be good. We don’t know. He’s only had slow F1 cars until now.

9

He was slower than post accident past his best Massa. Scored less points despite a fluke podium.

10

Canadian owner, American Team Principal and Mexican Driver. Hmmmmm

Team NAFTA. But NAFTA is dead says an orange-utan. Team USMCA then?

But seriously…

James, how wealthy is Stroll? Can he do what Mateschitz did for Redbull, infuse enough cash and entice the best designers and engineers to fight at the top? They do have one of the best PUs in the back of their car. Is it possible to turn this team into a race winner or even a champion like Red Bull became with enough cash? Any rumours or buzz around the paddock on their plans?

Please, James, I would appreciate your opinion on Stroll and what he may be capable of financially and may achieve with this team. I am really excited about this new partnership, especially with Perez being one of my favourite drivers.

11

You know maybe I should not change the subject but I’m having a very hard time posting to the proper subject.

On the subject its great that this race team will go on. Not so great is Ocon with no ride.

I know the largest fan base is in Europe but I’ve been a fan since I was a kid seeing fire come from the rear of a turbo charged car way back when. The hybrid cars now are amazing during qualifying but they seem slow by my eyes and your own charts James. Thank you for those.

My point is I don’t think its the cars but drivers having to take care of tires and the full load of fuel. Those pit stop deltas are terrible. I don’t think the sound is a big deal but people like Force India or whatever its called can’t even get a podium now.

You guys in Europe may think Sky is the worst thing there is but I feel blessed to get most of it in the USA. No one watches it here tho. I try to get people to watch but I don’t know what is wrong. It’s the best fer sure.

12

with no less than 20 drivers, formula one should do a young driver boot camp with formula one spot on the line.

13
Torchwood Mobile

If someone buys a team with a particular aim in mind, whether to bring the Lotus name back to F1, or get a platform for their driver son, I’m not going to criticise, especially if indulging their desires, saves jobs and livelihoods.

Ocon was already trying to join Renault and McLaren, so please stop bleating about him losing the RPFI seat.

14

Sad ending for Force India, which should have finished 4th in the WCC if it weren’t for the mid-season take over.

I do not get the problem people have with the Racing Point name. I think it is much better than Force India.

15

Stroll gets a bad rap in my opinion… yes he’s ‘bought’ his way in, but many drivers have… look at the like of Nikki Lauda!

The fact is he put a Williams on the front row in wet conditions and is the youngest podium winner… drivers don’t often get times to shine in poor cars but the greats have shown they can on the odd occasion get a result… Lance has done this in a Williams and whilst he may not be a great (look at Maldonados win!), he certainly has shown enough to get a mid field drive… if he can show that speed more often next year and get regular points and even pinch the odd good result, then I think it will confirm that he deserves to be there. I’m pretty sure he will show Perez a clean pair of heels.

16

We will see with Stroll.

17
Tornillo Amarillo

I’m amazed many people criticized the name Racing Point. I read it is just a transitional name, and that name would change at the time the 2019 starts.
We’ll see, maybe it is just the new team are busy with everything, new car, roles, people, including negotiations with sponsors and title sponsors…, so no need to too much complain or anxiety for now about the name 🙂

18

So they’ll rename it to “Daddy Loves You” before Australia?

19

Point of Order M’lud. Perez put the team into Administration to prevent other creditors from being able to put the team into Liquidation, therefore saving the F1 entry fee, goodwill and most of the jobs at the factory. He actually did FI and RPFI a huge favour and has been duly rewarded with a race seat for 2019, the same cannot be said for his teammate which is a loss to the sport.

20

Ok, let’s stop. Ocon will be just fine. Enough of the feeling sorry for him.

21

Perez sure helped for sure.

22
Tornillo Amarillo

Stroll took part in the end-of-season test in Abu Dhabi with the team.

Well Lance attended both days and he was 3rd out of 10 drivers each time, of course, is just a Pirelli test with different compounds, but no doubt he would be in the midfield fight next year.

I’m pleased everything is going well for Lance as I have always expected.

The pressure is already on in this team since they said they want to fight for P3 in the WCC like they are going to beat Red Bull… It sounds really difficult with the speed difference right now, and actually with Renault eager to do the same with Ricciardo on board, and Haas there and Sauber with Kimi, grabbing P4 would be very hard for any team next year.

23

Indeed. P3 could be up for grabs if Honda is at the same level as they were with McLaren, but it seems like they’ve improved, so I’d expect Red Bull Honda to keep P3. As you say, Renault and Haas are right there at the same level, so it could be a very close fight for “Best of the Rest” next year.

Racing India Point Force will have to be firing on all cylinders to come out on top in that fight. And it likely won’t be won by whoever gets the best result, but whichever team is the most consistent, with both drivers extracting the best results possible in every race. Sergio has shown he can do that, can Lance? I think he could – after all he did score most of Williams’ points this year, and he seems a pretty safe pair of hands.

24

Why not just call it Team Canada F1…..works for me, and that is kinda what it is.

25

Team CAN-AM sounds better.

26

Like it!

Then let’s add a 1,100hp flat 12 and reduce the weight to 800kg… you might be onto something there!

🙂

27

Awesome news for Lance! He could be 15 seconds a lap slower than Perez and still not get the sack!

28

If Stroll does better or even reasonably closer to what Ocon did, Perez’s stock would tumble down ( which is unlikely). If either Stroll gets special treatment, or gets first chance to test new parts, wonder how Perez & co would react. In all likelihood, it might not go well for Perez, as he is competing with the boss’s kid.

29

if he could get better results, he’ll get tarnished with ” he received the best strategy” “he get the preferential treatment”

30

when does the racing resume?

31

aveli, let’s hope it does, at least as soon as 2021, or else it looks really dire

32

Spring 2021 when the new engine formula will come into force.

33

@ Cyber….There is no new engine formula being touted…In fact it appears ATPIT that it will not alter from what we have today!!!

34

Yes kenneth that boat has sailed as you point out I’m afraid. It makes me very pessimistic of the future of the whole show/sport it will be a missed opportunity that many will regret. Sometimes it appears as if the people deciding on the future of F1 have already drawn certain conclusions. And they must be that there aren’t much else they can do, salvage or rectify in means of what fans in general wants.

They will bleed this formula to dry, with the help of a few manufacturers and then go on with what they might believe could be a future, let’s call it a formula as well for the sake of it. But they could as well sell it fuse it or do something else when the time comes.

35
Clarks4WheelDrift

…unless Merc find a way to control and dominate from then as well.

On a brighter note, they may just get lost and go to Formula E 😉

36

Clarks4WheelDrift I believe F1 already have Formula E in the corner of their eye. It’s only a distraction for now but since the big manufacturers rule the game at the moment it will have the owners attention every step of the way. And whatever may come out of it, it doesn’t appear to be what racing fans are looking for, whether it may be the old school fans or even the ones that have let go of the old virtues of the sport and would like to see some level of competitiveness and thereby a level of fair game and a sense people are actually competing.

Even the ever so more present media and show aspect of it appears to have been obliterated by what seams to be pure incompetence like tyres, fuel etc. But incompetence can’t explain all the wrong decisions been made recently.

37

Well of course ‘nobody’ predicted that nepotism would sprinkle it’s Stroll gold onto a Stroll seat in exchange for dumping a class driver like Ocon!
Perhaps justifiably, Lance will now face the reality of his position at every turn, watched and dumped on whenever he is behind Perez. Because of that, the name is seriously a marketing flatline. Do you see my point, or am I missing the point?

38
Clarks4WheelDrift

Seeing as the article is referencing poduims for Perez and Stroll, it really needs to be put into Formula-PU context.

That is 2 podiums for the entire 7 midfield teams of 14 cars out of the last 123 potential podiums…

2 out of 123 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

0.0162…

1 and a bit percent of podium potential for those 14 cars.

a 1 and a bit percent, fluke rate, in F1 podiums in this PU era, plus only in Baku!

(Max, Kimi DNF, Vettel rams Lewis, Lewis headrest comes off for Stroll)

(Dan n Max crash each other out, Seb runs wide and Bot punctures from lead for Perez)

Waken up F1…

Whats the point in these 7 teams, indies or distant customer puppets?

What’s the point in years of complex PU mess from Honda and Renault?

What’s the point in attracting any other indie teams or manufacturers like VW Porsche etc?

Whats the point in this hybrid marketing pish from Merc and Ferrari when it kills off the racing and creates such a gulf in laptimes between teams.

What’s the point in McLaren or Williams?

What’s the point in Mercedes and Ferrari controlling everyone else’s pace.

What’s it going to take to balance F1 to what it once was, to allow cars to race each other properly.

Is it going to take the very best drivers to quit before dealing with it? Too late.

Will it still be the same when Russell #1 and Ocon #2 are in the works Mercs?

BAN THE PU PARTY MODE CHANGES IN QUALLY FOR 2019!

FIX THE ENGINE MODE FOR THE WEEKEND ON FRIDAY MORNING!

EASY, F1 LESS PREDICTABLE WITH MORE INTERESTING RACING STRATGHT AWAY.

WHO RUNS THIS “SPORT” NOW BRAWN, BRATCHES, FIA ETC?

39

What’s the point of all this you highlight?

Racing Point!

Maybe a richer daddy with more sons should buy F1? Only 8 billion and probably losing value next year when TV viewership slides another 7%.

40

Yes its a 2 tiered F1 which is unfair.

41

@ Clarkes4WD yes, so many areas for improvement but will we actually see any?Highly unlikely. For quite some time i have pursued James to follow up on the Liberty/Brawn talkfest on how they were going to introduce new engines, cheaper and louder etc etc etc. Guess what…no one even ventured a guess although within the F1 fraternity/F1 media circles this had to be the hottest issue. Now we are being drip fed news that really it’s all come to zippedy doo dah. As expected. The manufacturers are in control and they will stay in control. Liberty are an abject failure. All they’ve done is cheapen the product by spraying some fairy dust around. Grid kids, new theme, new logo, delayed starts etc etc etc. because that’s the sum total of their expertise. Brawn for all his bravado has come out of this as the weak link. What we face now is same old same old. Why the seven ‘other’ teams even bother to turn up is beyond me. A lot could be achieved quite simply by making a rigidly enforced rule that whatever mode they use in quali cannot be altered for the rest of the race weekend. At least it may close the field up a little bit but this really is only tinkering at the edges. I really am disappointed in the direction that F1 has taken.

42

Liberty can’t do a single thing about the manufacturers. That’s the power they have.

43

Indeed jdr. If Liberty had something to say one would think they at least for their own benefit or future survival would make some progress int what their expertise is. But even that appears to be a fight they can’t win. the other conclusion would be that we have been to much credit to their abilities in general.

Another way of looking at it is that they might not be in it for the long haul. It’s not a uncommon way of doing business in that domain.

44

This website is dying. It’s sad because it used to be one of my favorite places to go to read about f1. Now it’s like any other site, although the news appear here with a delay of ~2 days and the comments appear with such a delay that it’s difficult to keep track of them.

45

OK, time to call it then?

Will JAonF1 survive to 2019 season start or will it just link to Motorsport.com/JamesAllenContent before the season starts?

46

Agreed. its a real shame as I used to enjoy James’ informative analysis and comments, not afraid to voice an opinon but without the aggression and intolerance of a certain other F1 blogsite.

47

He’s the President of EMEA!

…for Motorsport.

Busy, busy, busy being presidential. To busy for lowly reporting and being in the trenches.

Many marketing men and reporters have jumped the line to actual team positions. I’m thinking that’s James’ ambition bow. Probably into McLaren. They’ve had the most marketing men join them. From that F1 Magazine dude to Zak Brown and few in between. How has it worked out? 🙂

48

This site is just slower. James has a lot more things on his plate.

49

I agree that this website is dying. Where shall we all go instead?

50
Clarks4WheelDrift

Will they still be expected to park their cars to let the works Mercedes past (for position) as in the pathetic manner Toto’s Ocon did in Monaco?

51

I’m interested to see how Stroll Snr and Szafnauer are able to fill Mallya and Fernley’s roles in the new team. It’s one thing to write checks to pay the bills, but do they have the bandwidth at the top to manage and inspire the team to continue to punch above their weight. I just have this feeling that the internal dynamics have changed, can they continue and or improve, or will they struggle, time will tell.

52

What has happened to VJM ?

53

Building a five star jail room in India, with the help of UK Courts

54

Probably gone tp ground. Hiding from the bailiffs i should think.

55

@kenneth

As I understand things, VJM is way past the stage where bailiffs are a concern. He is, I believe, fighting extradition to India where he is wanted by the Indian Government to face criminal charges of fraud and money laundering.

56

@ C63 yes, i knew all of that…I was just being flippant. I look forward to the day when he appears in the dock in India. Many years ago i read the details of what he did to his Kingfisher employees and it was disgusting…all the while hosting lavish parties on his 300ft Indian Empress which cost a reputed $150m, How he has been able to evade extradition is a mystery.

57

He went to a country that had never extradited anyone to India. That’s how.

58

“In Formula 1, it’s so difficult to prepare, to know a driver from another team. 95 percent of your results is done by the car.” Sergio Perez

59

That’s one of the naffest team names I’ve ever heard of. They should be ashamed if that was the best, most marketable, brandable, dynamic and merchandisable team name that a bunch of highly valuable money movers could come up with. Even Stroll Racing would have been better.

60

Call it a Strez.

See my comment below for why.`

61

Stroll hasn’t exactly set the world alight with his talent so far, but in fairness he hasn’t had much of a chance to show it. He wasn’t too far off the experienced Massa in his rookie season, and this year he’s been dragging around a back marker and generally come out on top of his rookie team mate. So he deserves a shot in a mid field team at least, and it will be interesting to see how he compares to Perez at his prime. I would expect Sergio to have the measure of him, but Stroll has shown some promise, so maybe he’s capable of more in a better car.

As for the name? Meh. It’s not the most exciting name, but it’s no worse than Sahara Force India. It’s not as if it’s a brand in any other capacity, so it’s fairly meaningless. For some reason the name conjures up images of a boring black and white car (like a racing chequered flag?), but I hope they go with a distinctive new livery, or stick with the pink.

Of course, given the choice between Stroll or Ocon being in the car (or on the grid at all), I know what most people would have preferred…

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