Most families do not want to pick up and move across the pool because their 12 year old child wants to be a car racer. But that’s exactly what Lance Stroll’s family did, depriving them of their life in Montreal and moving to Switzerland in 2011 so that she can get the experience she needs from karting champion to Formula One.
But this is not a frivolous decision, or a pleasure. Stroll was monitored when he was just 11 years old by the Ferrari Driver Academy, which developed young drivers for Formula One. At that time, Stroll was the youngest racer to join the Maranello academy program.
“I grew up an adrenaline junkie my whole life,” Stroll said from his home in Switzerland via Zoom. “I was introduced to racing through my dad and I caught bugs through him. He is very passionate about racing – he owns a racetrack outside Montreal. “
When Stroll was five years old, his father, Lawrence Stroll, gave him a go-kart, which he would use to race around the traffic cones in the racetrack parking lot. By the time she was eight, she was competing in – and winning – karting competitions across North America, including the 2010 Florida Winter Tour Tag / Cadet championship. It was during that time she was scouted for the Maranello program.
“It’s really thanks to my mum, my dad and my sisters – they supported me during that time and they were totally committed to my racing career and moving to Europe with me. We all jumped on the plane and moved, “said Stroll. “One thing leads to the next and this is me in Formula One.”
But that’s not always easy. Stroll is still a kid, and only 16 or 17 years old, he sees Formula One as a real possibility for his career. He also initially faced criticism, especially from the media, which said billionaire Stroll’s father was simply indulging him in a very expensive hobby.
However, those critics were about to eat their word. After winning the trio of back-to-back titles in the junior singles (proving world motorsport) category, Stroll set the standard during the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix by becoming the youngest racer in Formula One history to reach the podium in their rookie season. He then took pole position first and climbed the podium twice at the Formula One Drivers’ Championship in 2020.
Now, the 22-year-old is a rising star on the Formula One grid. And this year, entering the fifth year of Formula One competition, he is part of the newly formed Formula One Team Aston Martin Cognizant (AMCF1), representing the brand on its return to Formula One after more than 60 years. His team-mate is veteran Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion.
Stroll’s father was also their boss. He took over the Aston Martin team two years ago in an attempt to rebuild it. Of course, that was interrupted by the global pandemic, which rocked last season – and set high expectations for next season.
It’s not lost on Stroll. Last year, about half a season, he sat in fourth place, but then he had some bad races and caught COVID-19. “It really got away from me,” said Stroll. “[This year] I want to get more from myself, build on some of my strengths and weaknesses, and be a better driver. “
The roads are renowned for their ability to drive in wet weather conditions. It was something he demonstrated when he took a leading position in his Formula One career at the soaked Turkish Grand Prix last November – the first Canadian to do so since Jacques Villeneuve. “It’s a tremendous achievement in wet and difficult conditions,” he said.
While high-speed sports do carry risks, for Stroll – who likes to ski and surf in his spare time – it’s all about taking calculated risks, especially when driving in tough conditions. Not that it made her mother any easier, Claire-Anne. “I mean, my mother, I have to give her a hug [before every race], “Said Stroll. “And there are a few more gray hairs on my father’s head.”
Stroll has long proven that he is a bona fide Formula One racer – who this year is expected to reach his pace. For Canadians who haven’t heard the name Lance Stroll, they can look forward to starting hearing it more often.