Lance Stroll has the speed to be Formula 1 world champion and can be transformed by new Aston Martin team-mate Sebastian Vettel, reckons the Silverstone team’s original founder Eddie Jordan.
Stroll’s father Lawrence purchased the assets of Force India after the team fell into administration during the 2018 season, and kept it going as a ‘new’ entrant under the Racing Point name.
Ex-Williams driver Lance then joined his father’s team for the 2019 season, and will continue for a third year in 2021 alongside incoming four-time world champion Vettel for the rebrand as Aston’s works team – the fifth identity since Jordan sold his eponymous team and the name first changed in 2006.
Jordan believes 2016 European Formula 3 champion Stroll will benefit hugely from Vettel’s arrival – similarly to how rising star Charles Leclerc blossomed alongside Vettel at Ferrari – to become a more consistent F1 driver and prove his place on the grid is not just the product of his father’s team ownership.
Jordan was speaking to The Race ahead of the announcement of his investment in travel and hospitality app Guestia, an itinerary, timetable and hotel booking management platform used by the McLaren F1 team for its travel arrangements.
“We were all maybe thinking ‘is that the right thing with Lance [joining the team]?’, and you’d have to say that Lance’s speed is undoubted now,” said Jordan.
“You have to look at him as a driver that sometimes he doesn’t always show his speed as much as he should, or can do.
“He has enormous talent. And he has the speed to be a world champion, he really, really does. But what I would like to see is more consistency. You go to a race and I’m not sure what I’m likely to see from Lance.
“I think Vettel coming can help them to do that. I think that Vettel may spur him on, just like Vettel spurred on Leclerc.
“And it could be that you might find a completely different driver in Lance Stroll this year.”
Stroll scored his first pole position in F1 with a surprising but excellent performance in the wet Turkish Grand Prix qualifying session last year and led the first half of the race before fading – which the team put down to undetected front wing damage.
He scored two podium finishes and ended the year a career-best 11th in the drivers’ championship.
However, he was comfortably outperformed by experienced team-mate Sergio Perez – who won the Sakhir GP and was fourth in the championship – and his 50-point deficit was a key part of why Racing Point was beaten by McLaren to third in the constructors’ championship.
Stroll’s season was impacted by contracting COVID-19, which forced him to miss the Eifel Grand Prix. This, combined with a mix of bad luck and underwhelming performance, set the Canadian on a seven-race run in which he scored just two points.
But Jordan believes Stroll, who only turned 22 last October, is capable of much more.
“For sure he’s got speed, and I think once a driver has the speed then anything is possible,” said Jordan.
“I think he will up his game into something really, really strong, partly because it’s Aston Martin now, partly because he has something to prove against Vettel.”
Vettel’s arrival in place of Perez has also been tipped by Aston’s senior management to have a positive impact on Stroll’s performances.
Team principal Otmar Szafnauer said Stroll made “strides in all areas of his racing” in 2020 and has backed him to play an important role in Aston’s ambitions.
“We also think Sebastian will bring out the best in Lance, with Lance pushing Sebastian hard in return, so we’re delighted with our 2021 line-up,” said Szafnauer.
“It’s the ideal blend of experience, race-winning knowhow, and raw talent.”