Lawrence Stroll: How the Aston Martin F1 owner made his $3.6 billion fortune

Thomas Maher
Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll looks into the camera. Italy, April 2022.

Lawrence Stroll, Aston Martin team owner, on the Imola grid looks into the camera. Italy, April 2022.

Lawrence Stroll is the multi-billionaire leading the Aston Martin F1 team, and helped secure his son Lance’s F1 career. Here’s how he made his fortune.

63-year-old Lawrence Stroll’s wealth has sky-rocketed in recent years, with the latest estimate of his fortune ranking him as the 812th richest person in the world. According to Forbes, Stroll’s net worth as of April 2023 is $3.6 billion, up from $2.4 billion back in 2016.

Such a rise coincides with Stroll’s canny investments in motorsport as he’s diversified from cars and fashion by leading the Racing Point consortium to own an F1 team before investing heavily into the Aston Martin car company.

Lawrence Stroll net worth: How did he make his billions?

Lawrence Stroll’s fortunes stem from the family business – namely in the fashion industry. Born in Montreal, Canada, on the 11th of July 1959, Stroll’s original family name is Strulovitch, stemming from his father Leo’s roots in Russia. Father Leo was a fashion importer, initially introducing the Pierre Cardin brand into Canada.

Stroll learned at his father’s side throughout his childhood and teenage years and, on his 17th birthday, was given the licence to Pierre Cardin’s children’s wear for Canada. Stroll took to his task with gusto, spending more than the next decade growing the brand across Canada.

In a major stroke of luck, 15 years later, Stroll would end up bidding against Ralph Lauren for a car – the fashion designer’s brand slowly finding traction in the United States at the time. Lauren would end up winning the car, but Stroll walked away with a new licence, under the company Poloco S.A. to take responsibility for Polo Ralph Lauren in Europe.

Silas Chou, a Hong Kong-based textile manufacturer who knew Stroll as a result of their fathers having worked together in the past, went into partnership with Stroll in 1989 as they founded Sportswear Holdings. Under Sportswear Holdings, the Ralph Lauren brand took off in Europe, allowing the duo to also make a significant investment in the Tommy Hilfiger brand.

While Chou became the major shareholder, managing supply and distribution, Stroll took over responsibility for marketing and growth and served on the board of directors between 1992 and 2002. By 2000, Sportswear Holdings were turning over $2 billion annually, compared to $25 million 11 years prior, having also acquired Pepe Jeans in 1991 – Stroll acting as Group CEO from 1993 to 1998.

Another successful venture was into the purchase of the Michael Kors brand in 2003, with Sportswear Holdings investing $85 million to take over 85% of the company. Stroll was co-chairman of the company between 2003 and 2011. With the company going public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2011, the company’s value climbed to $3.6 billion. Sportswear Holdings sold the last of its stake in Michael Kors back in 2014.

Having become a billionaire, Stroll began putting money into his other passion – motorsport. Stroll’s keen interest in motoring and racing cars was already evident, having purchased the Mont-Tremblant circuit outright in 2000.

Lawrence Stroll family: An F1 driver who has followed every step of the way

Togher with Belgian-born Claire-Anne Callens, Stroll welcomed two children during the 1990s: Chloe and Lance. While the family were located in Geneva, Switzerland, Lance began his karting career in Canada and North America where, in 2008, he won the Quebec rookie of the year award and driver of the year award 12 months later.

His karting exploits drew the attention of Ferrari, who signed him to their driver academy in 2010.

Stroll’s first car race came in 2014 in the Florida Winter Series, organised as a series of non-championship races by the Ferrari Driver Academy. Future F1 rivals Max Verstappen and Nicholas Latifi were also on the grid, with Stroll’s best result being a second place at Homestead-Miami.

Stroll’s first competitive championship car race came in Italian F4, with his father’s influence helping him from the get-go as Lawrence invested heavily into Prema. According to unofficial figures reported at the time, Stroll is believed to have invested some £60 million into Prema in order to ensure his son had access to the very best equipment and preparation techniques.

Winning the Italian F4 Championship at the first time of asking, a step up to F3 followed for Lance, with Stroll finishing fifth overall in 2015. He would win the series outright in 2016, although critics would say the field was considerably weakened by the departure of five teams and defending Champion Felix Rosenqvist not being permitted to take part after already spending three years in the category.

Rumours that Lawrence was investing a significant sum ($10 million) into the Williams F1 team were flatly denied as the Grove-based team signed Lance as a development driver, with the Canadian then being signed to a full-time race seat for the 2017 season.

Lawrence Stroll: From fashion tycoon to F1 owner

Lance Stroll’s time at Williams would later be described as ‘torture’ by his father, despite scoring 40 points in 2017 – including a podium finish in Azerbaijan.

Harnessing his immense wealth, Lawrence would put together a consortium of interested parties (including Sportswear Holdings partner Silas Chou) to form ‘Racing Point’ to bid for the beleaguered Force India team after Sergio Perez forced the Vijay Mallya-owned squad into administration.

Racing Point would emerge as the new owners of the team, with Stroll assuming control from the mid-point of the 2018 season. Unsurprisingly, Lawrence set about signing his son Lance to join the team and ousted Esteban Ocon from his cockpit for the 2019 season.

Only 18 months later, Stroll opened up his chequebook once again to lead another consortium, Yew Tree Investments, to a $235 million investment into the Aston Martin car company. Becoming executive chairman of the company, Yew Tree upped their investment from an initial 19% stake to 28% over the first 18 months of ownership.

With operational control of both the Racing Point and Aston Martin entities, Stroll set about amalgamating the two – his F1 team were rebranded into the Aston Martin factory F1 team from the start of 2021, with son Lance paired up with four-time Sebastian Vettel.

Lawrence Stroll: His vision to disrupt the status quo in F1

While Stroll’s initial idea may have been to help his son Lance find his way in F1, the canny businessman isn’t pouring such vast sums of money into Formula 1 for the fun of it – he has since committed to a huge investment programme for his F1 team.

While the former Jordan/Force India team were known for making competitive machines on small budgets, Stroll and Aston Martin’s input has allowed the team to reach the full extent of F1’s budget cap since the Financial Regulations were introduced in 2021, with Stroll also signing off on the building of a completely new state-of-the-art F1 factory near Silverstone that is set to commence operations over the coming months.

Stroll also successfully managed to convince Fernando Alonso to leave the Alpine F1 team, Groupe Renault’s factory F1 entry with whom he won two world titles in 2005 and 2006, in order to join the burgeoning Aston Martin squad – evidence if ever any was needed that the billionaire means business.

With son Lance holding his own against Vettel during their two seasons as teammates, the Canadian driver has also started off life as Alonso’s teammate in impressive fashion despite a pre-season injury curtailing his testing time. While Alonso has scored three consecutive podiums to kick off the season, Stroll has also finished in the points in two of the three races. Aston Martin are very much the surprise package of 2023 so far, having leapt to the front of the grid after starting 2022’s new regulation cycle towards the very back – a key signing in the form of Red Bull aerodynamicist Dan Fallows playing a big role in understanding the new regulations.

Lawrence Stroll car collection: A lover of vintage Ferraris

Aside from fashion, Stroll’s love of cars has seen him amass a large collection of extremely expensive and exotic machinery – mostly Ferraris. Establishing himself as a Ferrari dealer by selling the marque in Montreal, Stroll has boasted cars such as the Ferrari 250 GTO, the GT40, an F50, a 288 GTO and a 275 GTB Spyder.

He paid £20 million for the Spyder in 2013, while he sold his 250 GTO for £50 million in a private sale back in 2018.

Other cars in his collection have included a 1996 McLaren F1 and a Ford GT.

When not on dry land, Stroll also owned a superyacht named Faith. Costing around £200 million and built in 2017, the yacht featured a helipad, a glass-bottomed swimming pool, and a beach club, as well as a built-in fireplace in the lounge. He is believed to have sold the yacht to Michael Latifi, father of Canadian racing driver Nicholas, with Stroll commissioning the building of a new superyacht to replace Faith.