Jacques Villeneuve aims brutal dig at Lance Stroll with helicopter remark

Oliver Harden
Lance Stroll in the Monza paddock.

Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll walks through the paddock at Monza.

Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 World Champion, has aimed a brutal dig at struggling Lance Stroll’s commitment by claiming the Aston Martin driver would travel by helicopter to a kart track 15 minutes away from his house as a youngster. 

Despite having three podium finishes and a pole position to his name, Stroll has often faced accusations of being a pay driver since arriving on the grid with Williams in 2017, with billionaire father Lawrence the current owner of the Aston Martin team.

Stroll’s place at Aston Martin has come under severe scrutiny over recent months due to his struggles alongside two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso, who has claimed seven podium finishes in 2023 with Stroll only registering a best finish of fourth on one occasion.

Lance Stroll criticised by Jacques Villeneuve

Recent reports have claimed a demotivated Stroll has been considering his future as a result of his failure to match Alonso, with the 24-year-old moving to deny reports of an imminent switch to professional tennis.

Stroll’s commitment to F1 has been repeatedly questioned over the course of his seven-season stay on the grid, with Villeneuve offering an insight into his fellow Canadian’s privileged upbringing.

Villeneuve, who overcame Michael Schumacher to win the title in 1997, claimed Stroll’s father built a karting facility for his son to hone his skills, with the driver not keen on a short walk to the track.

He told F1-Insider: “Lawrence built his own kart track for his son, which was only a 15-minute walk from the house. Nevertheless, Lance covered the distance every day by helicopter.”

Villeneuve’s comments were echoed by a so-called “insider from an unnamed F1 team, who remembers being unimpressed by Stroll’s disengaged attitude when he came to visit.

The anonymous individual told the same source: “Father and son once came to our factory to have a look: I have never seen such an interested father and such a disinterested son.”

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Stroll enjoyed a fine junior career, winning the old Formula 3 series with Prema in 2016 ahead of his graduation to F1 with Williams as an 18-year-old the following year.

He secured his maiden podium finish in just his eighth grand prix appearance in Baku, before becoming the youngest-ever driver to start from the front row at Monza in 2017.

Two further podiums followed in Italy and Sakhir in 2020, with his only pole position in tricky conditions in Turkey sandwiched between those results.

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