Lance Stroll has been warned the “stopwatch doesn’t lie” as he continues to struggle to match the achievements of Fernando Alonso.
In eight races of 2023, Stroll has failed to beat his team-mate in seven of them and while the Spaniard has featured on the podium six times, the last time the Canadian did was three years ago.
The nature of Stroll’s contract is one of the more interesting and secretive ones as he is the only driver whose expiry date is not known. Given his obvious connections with team owner Lawrence Stroll, it can be assumed that his seat is safe but with Aston Martin now fighting amongst the top contenders, the spotlight has never been brighter on the 24-year-old.
In Canada, he finished ninth – bumped up one place due to Lando Norris’ penalty – while his team-mate fought off competition from Lewis Hamilton to hold on to P2.
The question now is, will Lawrence Stroll be keen to make a swap if it means a potential World Championship? That was exactly what Eddie Jordan asked David Coutlhard on their Formula for Success podcast.
“Here’s a question,” Jordan said.
“You own Aston Martin and have poured fortunes and fortunes of your own money [into it] and there’s a huge amount of sponsorship money, what do you say to the sponsors who have come to you and they ask you the question: ‘Are you sure that Lance can do the job that we need to do to get this team to be a winning constructors team?’
“And I want to know if you’re Lawrence Stroll, what do you answer?”
DC’s response was “the stopwatch doesn’t lie.”
“[That is a] brilliantly simple statement of truth,” the former McLaren driver. “I’m not saying Lance isn’t good enough, he’s won everything all the way through his journey towards Formula 1.
“I think there’s been some elements of misfortune in his run this year but is it any surprise in one of the most difficult transitional qualifying sessions that you’ve seen this year, and in Monaco as well, that one young, brilliant talent [Max Verstappen] and an older brilliant talent [Alonso] find their way onto the front row?
“So there’s a point where you can’t keep making excuses.
“This is a stopwatch competition, and a certain point that is what will dictate what teams choose to do in the future. I’m sure you had drivers in the car that you didn’t truly believe a Michael Schumacher or whatever, because they were paying the bills, but you needed to do that [at the time].”
Aston Martin defended the performance of Stroll in Monaco with Mike Krack commenting he did well to rise to ninth after a P16 start.
“I think he did really well,” Krack told the media.
“[In qualifying], he struggled with grip, and if you struggle like that, and you don’t have the confidence, then it’s very difficult.
“[During the race], I think he drove really well. We took him out of traffic, and when he was out of traffic, he managed the lap times of the frontrunners on hard tyres.
“If you are in this DRS train, it’s really hard, to come from 16th to ninth is a great achievement.
“On paper, it looks only ninth, and when your team-mate finishes second, you think it’s not a good performance but when you see where you’ve come from, I think it was very good.”