Former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan revealed a tense encounter with Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll, after suggesting his son Lance may not be in Formula 1 without his influence.
Lance Stroll is now a veteran of the F1 grid, having made his debut back in 2017, the funding of his billionaire father Lawrence playing an important role in opening the Williams F1 door when his son was only 18.
And despite having now completed his seventh F1 campaign and second as part of Aston Martin, the team formerly owned by Jordan and now Lawrence, Lance still has not been able to widely convince the F1 audience that he secured his place on the grid on merit.
Lawrence Stroll confronted Eddie Jordan over Lance Stroll doubts
Speaking on the Formula for Success podcast, Jordan revisited a time when he expressed such doubts on air for Channel 4, which led to a “ruck” with an angered Lawrence.
In the time since, Jordan feels that Lance has shown that he deserves to be an F1 driver, but as for a number one within a team, he has not seen any proof yet that he is up to that task.
Jordan said: “I remember having one of the few rucks that I’ve had, I remember Lawrence Stroll coming to me to say, ‘Why did you say?’, I was working with you [David Coulthard] and Mark [Webber] on Channel 4, I think I said would Lance Stroll get a drive without his father’s help or influence and he wasn’t happy about that.
“I’ll now come back to that and I’ll say that I think he does warrant and justify his position in Formula 1, but he is never going to be a number one driver from what I can see at the moment.”
Stroll scored 74 points across the F1 2023 campaign, paling in comparison to his two-time World Champion team-mate Fernando Alonso who collected 206, including eight podiums to Stroll’s zero.
Formula for Success host and 13-time F1 race winner Coulthard was keen to give Stroll credit, having sensationally made it back into the Aston Martin for the Bahrain season-opener after a pre-season cycling accident, though Coulthard admits Stroll’s season did lack the “highlights” of Alonso’s.
“We should highlight the brilliant surprise of Aston Martin, serious amounts of investment there under Lawrence Stroll’s vision,” said Coulthard.
“They’ve moved into a new factory, which is never easy to do during a season.
“Fernando, brilliant, breath of fresh air. It does put a little bit of a spotlight on Lance. He, I think, drove brilliantly in Bahrain, still recovering from broken bones in his feet and his wrists and then thereafter, I think he did a solid job.
“But you’ve got to say there were not the same level of highlight performances. Although he did finish the season I think relatively strong, there weren’t the same highlights as Fernando’s.
“So it’s very unusual to witness a driver of his [Alonso’s] age performing at that level, and that team has definitely taken a step forward.”
Aston Martin’s season fell away as it went on, going from regular podium finishers to struggling against Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren in the battle for ‘best of the rest’ behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship.
Jordan referred to Alonso’s thrilling battle to the line with Sergio Perez in Brazil, which he won out in to secure P3, as an important fresh injection of motivation for Aston Martin to push on with, as he believes a top-three result in the standings, rather than F1 2023’s P5, but must be what Aston Martin aim for in F1 2024.
“That alone I think was important that Aston Martin do push on,” said Jordan of the Alonso-Perez Brazil GP battle.
“At the end of the day, let’s be realistic about it, they had a real good crack at it when other teams were floundering at the beginning of the year, so they gathered up some points, but I think they finished poorly, by their own standards.
“And for them to have been behind McLaren and finishing fifth in the Championship, they have to think about moving up a bit, they should be aiming for the top three next year without any question.”
While Aston Martin started strong, McLaren took over as the most-improved F1 2023 team, claiming P4 in the standings by 22 points over Aston Martin.